Saturday saw JMSN’s very first visit to Leeds. Despite his uncertainty of the pronunciation (I’m not sure why), it was definitely a warm welcome. For an artist who has released 3 albums, amongst other EPs, I was rather confused at the lack of people there. Pity for those who chose a rowdy and generic Halloween event over listening to what can only be described as the smoothest vocals I’ve ever heard.
Opening with the ambient ‘It Is’, JMSN serenaded the audience with raw emotion flowing as naturally as his dance moves into stand out single ‘Power’, which immediately got the crowd moving. The lack of people actually made for a better vibe; everyone seemed to be genuine fans, singing along to every song and generally appreciating the performance. I felt privileged to witness such an intimate performance as if it was an exclusive event.
With only the accompaniment of a bassist and a limited drum kit, you might expect certain production-heavy songs to suffer, but that wasn’t the case at all; his vocals are more than strong enough to take centre stage. ‘Street Sweeper’ saw JMSN showcase his instrumental talents on the guitar, with an extended breakdown in the middle which definitely gave off a funk vibe.
I overheard a fellow crowd-member compare JMSN to Justin Timberlake, a seemingly bizarre comparison, yet actually very true especially with the audience participation in ‘Bout It’. JMSN has all the components of a chart topping R&B/soul artist, yet too unique to ever be considered mainstream. This was proven after the set, which I had hoped would be longer, as JMSN stepped off the stage to have a drink and a chat with his fans.