On the day of love, Valentine’s Day, Jesse Boykins III hosted an evening of music for the lovers in the Marlin Room of Webster Hall. The show opened with the throwback R&B sounds of Atlantic recording artist Lauriana Mae. Joined by three back-up singers and a full band called The Pains, Lauriana lit of the stage with her powerhouse vocals and sexy, yet tasteful moves. I became familiar with Lauriana upon the announcement of the show but did not to take in her music prior, so I was very happy with her captivating performance and sound. She reminded me of Duffy with a Jersey edge, which is quite refreshing.
The man of the night, Jesse Boykins III, kicked off his set with a spoken word selection from fellow Romantic Movement representer, Joekenneth. He recited “B4 The Night Is Thru (The Romantic Movement)”, which led right into Jesse’s song of the same name, which at this point, I had been singing all day.
Jesse commanded the stage, delivering the goods vocally from his earlier works, mainly his The Beauty Created LP. Along with his band, The Beauty Created, Jesse gave an invigorating performance, devoid of any vocal back-up, and probably some of the best dance moves ever. He was joined by MeLo-X and Moruf for “Change of Heart” from the Zulu Guru album.
On this night, I experienced the evolution of Jesse Boykins III as an artist. Having followed his career for a few years now, along with attending various performances, it was on this night that I truly saw him come into his own. Seldom do I see vocalists perform without background accompaniment that can blow and maintain strength throughout an hour plus set, but Jesse did just that.
He announced the impending release of his next solo project in April, which I am really looking forward to. He’s aligned himself over the years with equally talented musicians, but I believe in this year, he will become a household name.
*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo