Mansfield’s Xfinity Center hosted the JAM’N 94.5 Summer JAM yesterday (6.6.15); it was a seemingly packed house and an even more packed lineup.
Most of the artists on the bill didn’t quite stir up any excitement within me, but then, there they were: Snoop Dogg and Childish Gambino. I went in to see them, everything else was collateral.
At the end of the night, though, I’d find that there was more to this lineup than those two giants of hip-hop. In fact, it ended up being a night split into thirds: the forgettable, the fun, and the (really good to) fantastic.
Starting off with Kalin + Myles, ILoveMakonnen and Logic, all of whom delivered sets so unimpressive that I had to check several times after the fact to remember who was who. Then there was Fetty Wap, who (due to arriving late to the venue) closed the show. Perhaps he would’ve seemed better if he wasn’t following a legend (Snoop), or perhaps he is in fact just downright bad.
I don’t remember much from Kranium’s set, but I do remember liking what he was giving us as it happened. With Natalie La Rose, it was all about stage presence, and with Action Bronson it was all about beating his performance at the House of Blues Boston back in April. When it got to Shaggy, it started out as nostalgia, and turned into really digging both his sound and his general vibe. I had completely forgotten he ever existed until I saw this lineup, and now I’m just happy to have been reminded.
I have to start with Snoop Dogg, here, because he only just barely made it into this category. Sure, he’s a legend, but now he’s at a point where he’s coasting along, milking that fact for all it’s worth. But when he does shine, he shines bright. His character and classic hits make him a must see, especially if – like me – you grew up with them all over MTV. Jordin Sparks might be the most surprising addition to this category, but she’s extremely deserving. She sounded (and looked) incredible; definitely better than she ever did on American Idol. Trey Songz wasn’t really on my radar until about half-way through his set. He played the crowd well, sounded good doing so, and actually had a band backing him (major bonus points for that).
Finally there was Childish Gambino, who, even with less than 20-minutes, completely melted my face off. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of his, but this performance was explosive. Even though he didn’t play any of his best tracks and seemed more than happy to be leaving the stage after his final song (he was the only artist of the night that would leave the stage before their time ran out), he lit the stage up with pure hip-hop. He is the single best thing going in the genre right now.
Enjoy the Slideshow above, then head over to Flickr to check out all of my photos from the JAM’N 94.5 Summer JAM.
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