A concert by Jay-Jay Johanson is always kind of the same… and it’s a good thing for his fans. I saw three times live and it’s pretty much the same mood every time. The Swedish crooner lingers in melancholy, minor chords, in comforting but sad mood. You gently dance to Johanson’s songs, but they bring you in that lost love mood that can hurt if tougher events have happened in your life recently, or simply make you groove, wrapped in melancholy if all scars are healed. With Jay-Jay Johanson, Portishead beats meet Morrissey’s mal-de-vivre.

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In concert, Jay-Jay delivers the mood, but he’s smiling, he’s happy to be there. Waving at fans, enjoying singing classics from his repertoire (So Tell the girls that I am back in town, It Hurts Me So, Believe in Us…) as much as songs from this 2015 album, “Opium” like I Love Him So. A concert by Jay-Jay Johanson includes no surprises. He delivers the mood we hope for. He sings the songs we came for. New songs are pretty much in the same direction as those that came out in the early 2000s.

As on his last visit in Montreal (in February 2015 at Gésù – not that long ago), there were black and white projections behind him of people staring at the camera. Directly inspired by Andy Warhol’s black-and-white screen tests (with young Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Edie Sedgwick… in the mid-sixties’) where the artist thought the true personality of the subject would show if he or she doesn’t stop staring ahead. It does have quite a presence.

Combined with Jay-Jay Johanson’s sad and personal music, it was very powerful.

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JAY-JAY JOHANSON was playing at Club Soda, on July 9 as part of the Montreal Jazz Fest.

All our articles about the Jazz Fest are here.

Phoos: Frédérique Ménard-Aubin, FIJM

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur-en-chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie “Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique” en 2013, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016.