Friday night brought Jordan Edward Benjamin, better known by his stage name, grandson, to St. Paul for a fiery, sold-out performance at Amsterdam Bar & Hall. With much of the Twin Cities bracing for the impending “snowmageddon” set to arrive later this weekend, a few hundred people took the opportunity to expel some excess energy, fully consuming the emphatic performance and (literally) shaking the foundation of the venue to its core.
Born in New Jersey, but calling Toronto, Canada his home, grandson initially burst onto the scene in late-2015. Over the next few years, he released several singles which went, as the kids say, “viral” grossing millions of streams on Spotify & Apple Music and resulting in a record deal with RCA in 2017.
In 2018, it was announced that grandson had been signed to Fueled By Ramen, where he would release his major label debut EP, A Modern Tragedy Vol. 1, in June 2018, as well as the follow-up, A Modern Tragedy Vol. 2 in February 2019. The initial EP featured the single, “Blood // Water,” which appeared on several Billboard charts all over the world.
grandson has garnered a lot of attention due to the subject matters of his music, including “Blood // Water,” a song about political corruption, as well as “Thoughts & Prayers,” a song which offered a critique of American gun laws in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Due to the intensity of some of his lyrics, and the energy he puts behind both his music and his live performance, his exponentially growing fanbase is extremely passionate, and have been filling venues across the country for the entire tour. That included the performance in St. Paul last night, which was at absolute capacity, something I hadn’t seen at any show I attended at Amsterdam before.
Attracting fans of all ages also meant that the show ended up being a little bit earlier than I had anticipated, but luckily I was able to arrive just before he and his bandmates took the stage.
As soon as he stepped out on stage, the crowd absolutely erupted with energy. Within three songs, the entire foundation of the venue was literally bouncing up and down with the crowd chanting back every single word to every single song, and grandson commanded them with absolute expertise.
He often took pauses in between songs to reaffirm the messages inside of his music as well. A common theme of self-expression and acceptance was apparent throughout the performance, as well as him taking the time to address the current political climate and how it is affecting the world around us, making sure to continually tell everyone to stay as educated as possible on current events, and to get out and vote for the change we want to see.
The highlight, by far, for me was grandson’s absolutely incredible singing voice. As a fan of his music I obviously knew he was extremely talented, but hearing the rawness of his voice in a live setting, and watching him pour every ounce of passion he has into his performance, was something that was truly special to see.
I look forward to being able to watch grandson continue to grow and thrive in this music industry, and hopefully inspire the change we so desperately need in this world.
Setlist: grandson / St. Paul, Minnesota / Amsterdam Bar & Hall
- Kiss Bang
- Thoughts & Prayers
- Bury Me Face Down
- Best Friends
- Is This What You Wanted
- Stick Up
- Bood // Water