Sean Jones Candyland
Submitted by Lenny Stoute
'Twas standing room only and given a plurality of fervent dancers, precious little of it, resulting in a bump 'n' hustle vibe for the entirety of Sean Jones set inside Candyland. The gig was the closer for Jones' summer tour and the rising soul star's fanbase was out in force. Which is tres femme and demographically varied. There were rich white ladies from round Rosedale way, inherited from his Casa Loma summer residency, fly soul girls from the burbs, downtown hipster club babes, all up on it from the get go.
Backed by a nine-piece crew including sax, trombone and horn, Jones passed on a set salted with his classic interpretations in favour of leaning heavily on material from current album, Waiting For Midnight. Opening with the crackling tempo of 'Pot Of Gold,", the pace never slackened as Jones gave the people what they came for: hot, sexy, up-tempo soul via " One In A Million,' "Night Time Is The Right Time", "Out My Window" ,"Bad Till I'm Good" and the anthemic ballad "In My Arms"
The vocals at times call up a mash of Marvin Gaye, Usher and Justin Timberlake and it's a darn good jumping off point for the younger fans, with enough of the old school to bring the rest of us along. It's also a reference point for the new soul thing that's bubbling up in The 6ix, involving folks including pianist/arranger Michael Shand,who along with fiancée Mika Graham co-write with Jones, producer David Henriques (Coalition Music) and singer/songwriter Divine Brown. Among them there seems to be a commitment to the evolution of soul, which was typified by a pair of singles intended for an album currently under construction.
The recently released 'Stop Light', is a summery concoction with a catchy tune and sexy undertones befitting the subject matter of a drop-dead beauty, "everybody freezes when you walk into the room." Smoke" is darker in tone, despite a catchy melody and hooky groove, as it dwells on the futility of love, when a body's set on fire but winds up chasing smoke. With the dancers still at it and the vibe still high and fly, what else to send us out into the freezing drizzle with but a burning- down-the-house run through of Mr. Brown's seminal "I Feel Good." And we did.