Live Review: Majid Jordan’s slinky retro R&B proves a massive hit at Metro Theatre

Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” remains the megastar’s finest pop moment to date, which is saying a lot considering the quality of chart-toppers like “Take Care” and “One Dance”. The smoothed synthpop dipped in retro swagger bought out a side of the forever record-breaking rapper-singer that we’ve never heard before, and have never heard since; giving him a timeless jam that truly justified his enviable position at the top of the music industry. And it wouldn’t have happened without Majid Jordan, the forward-thinking Canadian duo of singer Majid Al Maskati and producer Jordan Ullman, OVO Sound signees who would go on to release an incredible (and sadly overlooked) debut EP a year later and follow that up with two even better studio albums.

R&B sits at the core of what two are doing, beefed by neon-washed productions that are flashy throwbacks as much as they are new-age nods to a fusion of disco, funk and synthpop. Jordan manages to slip through the tropes of all those genres and still somehow emerge with fresh, consistently cool head-nodding beats and that makes him one of the most vital musicians on OVO Sound’s tight roster. Place his refreshing productions underneath Maskati’s stretchy, New Edition-esque vocals and it’s not hard to see how valuable Majid Jordan are to the modern R&B and pop scene. And that eclecticism translates very well live, as proved on Thursday night as Majid took to a sold-out Metro Theatre in Sydney.

Kicking off with the throbbing atmosphere of the intro from their latest album, The Space Between, it was immediately clear the duo’s focus was fixed on their latest project. And while they still mixed it up with some older tracks, it was Majid’s 2018 material that came across the strongest. The energetic one-two punch of “Gave Your Love Away” and “OG Heartthrob” raised the bar and kept it there, Maskati spinning around the stage to mirror the irrepressible excitement coming from the all-ages crowd. Impressively, his vocals were strong enough to float over the non-stop, stadium-worthy singalongs that were going down, fans literally screaming each and every lyric back to the commanding frontman.

Maskati would never miss an opportunity to shout out the man behind him, showing a lot of love to Jordan and emphasising just how essential to the show he is. There wasn’t much in the way of visuals apart from blinding lights, but the real selling point of the show was how precise Jordan was with maintaining the flow of the music. It was fluid, stitching together songs with no seams of noticeable gaps so songs, all given full performances, would bleed into and complement each other. Sure things like “One I Want” and “My Imagination” sounded clear and crisp next to vibey bangers like “Phases” and “Body Talk”, all turned into one continuous track which in a way highlighted how adaptable Maskati’s vocals are.

A four-song encore felt above-and-beyond with giving fans incredible value, taking us through “A Place Like This”, “U”, “King City”, and Majid’s first major hit, “Her”. It was more than enough to give us a complete picture of what makes Majid Jordan, and why more people should be paying attention.

Set List:

Intro
Gave Your Love Away
OG Heartthrob
Small Talk
Pacifico
Every Step Every Way
Something About You
You
One I Want
Phases
My Imagination
Not Ashamed
Body Talk
The Space Between
Outro

A Place Like This
U
King City
Her

The reviewer attended this show on 26th July.