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jackLNDN is No Lionel Richie, But He’s Still Pretty Good – Live at the Entry

“Hi, my name is Jack and I’m from London.” jackLNDN’s show at 7th Street Entry started exactly like previous sets I’ve seen (as recently as last February opening for the Funk Hunters and stretching back to his Electric Forest 2015 appearance), a quick introduction and a nosedive into a pile of tunes.

jackLNDN at 7th Street Entry by Music in Minnesota
Photo – Benjamin Allen

In a word, the attendance of jackLNDN’s Entry show was: sparse. Minneapolis has a strangely erratic appreciation for electronic music. Some performers will pack clubs on the rest of their tour, but they will struggle to get a smaller room here to half capacity. I’d be shocked if, on this evening, the Entry was at a quarter of its 250 person capacity.

Maybe it had something to do with scheduling his show during the beloved Minnesota State Fair and the first night of First Avenue’s celebration show, not to mention Lionel Richie at the Grandstand.

jackLNDN at 7th Street Entry by Music in Minnesota
Photo – Benjamin Allen

As it turned out, Jack himself attended the fair earlier in the day. He announced, “So, I went to the fair today…” then paused as several audience members shouted and howled in approval. Whatever he was about to say, he opted out of and finished with, “…yeah” then shook his head.

Jack from London did not like the fair. I felt bad. The state fair is a no-brain win for anybody I take with me, and I wondered who brought Jack and allowed it to leave such a ‘meh’ impression. I felt bad for him initially, but as I watched him boogie around the stage as he played, I got the impression it didn’t really phase him.

jackLNDN at 7th Street Entry by Music in Minnesota
Photo – Benjamin Allen

He also sported a cast on his right wrist, which for somebody who quickly switches between knob-twiddling and piano playing, couldn’t be easy or without its share of pains. But there he was, smiling during it all, playing as well as he always does, not missing a beat. Music is powerful.

It’s funny, the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that jackLNDN would be a perfect opening act for Lionel Richie. Their groove-based, vocal-centered styles are similar enough for Lionel’s fans, and it would give those fans some new material and unexplored music in which to dig around. Maybe next time.

His set consisted largely of original tracks, with Jack taking on all vocal duties. He’d drop into the occasional house track or other diversion before easing back into more traditional song structure. I fell in love with jackLNDN’s sets for just that reason. I appreciate an abrupt 90-degree shift and he’s gotten really good at timing them just right, when they’re least expected and most welcome.

jackLNDN at 7th Street Entry by Music in Minnesota
Photo – Benjamin Allen

It was a well-rounded set with a criminally low attendance. It’s shocking, as jackLNDN’s music easily fits in with the playlists of 5-6 area radio stations, but at a time when almost none of them willing to try anything new, it can make it difficult for artists and their people to spread their gospel.

Written by Benjamin Allen

In my photography, I try to tell the story of the relationship of people that create music and those that experience it through pictures. I’m drawn to rainbows like a moth to a big, beautiful flame.

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