Coming in from the Windy City, BJ the Chicago Kid shook the City of Trees up with pure soul on Wednesday night. Joined by Brooklyn’s KAMAUU and the Bay Area’s own songstress Rayana Jay, the ‘1123 Tour’ captivated Harlow’s Nightclub with the rawest of talents.
Of course, the evening would light up once BJ the Chicago Kid touched the stage. With a career that includes four Grammy Award nominations, a coveted deal with Motown Records, countless high-caliber collaborations and a voice that finds the individual spirit of each track he graces, those in attendance showed up with confidence that this show would be nothing less than great.
As soon as BJ started things off with “Feel the Vibe,” the opening track on his latest studio album ‘1123,’ there would be no room for lull as his accompanying drummer and keyboardist/DJ would fill the spaces in-between his croons. Praised for his elastic voice, BJ would soon follow the album’s tracklist by rapping into the infectious thump of “Get Away,” which features a phenomenal roster with Kent Jamz, Buddy and JID on the album.
In person, just as much as on many records in his discography, BJ has the ability to make a listener crave for the affection of someone who may not even exist. As a songwriter he taps into crevices that beg to be played again, such as the promising “Time Today.” He has the ability to insult a love interest and apologize while never missing a step to enamor–which is an attitude he seemingly applies to life.
Embodying his name to the fullest, BJ the Chicago Kid is a rare individual with a talent and demeanor that represents the city that raised him everywhere he goes, while maintaining the spirit of the child within him. Whether taking the time to remind everyone that they need to pay attention to the child within themselves, or letting everyone know how much he appreciates their presence, while making it clear he knows and owns his gift in this world, BJ is an inspiration for those unafraid to face themselves.
When it appeared time was running out on the venue’s curfew, BJ made sure there was enough time to perform “Reach,” the closing song on ‘1123.’ As its lyrics share the heartened confidence he displayed throughout the night, the only thing missing seemed to be more time to cut deeper into his discography.
“I don’t know where we going/I just know we’re going somewhere/Somewhere far worth going/Searching for/For something that’s golden/And we want it so damn bad/Willing to put our soul in.”
If true soul encompasses all the crevices we love and those we don’t even know, BJ the Chicago Kid is doing a phenomenal job at presenting his own on a sonic plane, which we are all surely to have a lot more to look forward to.
Photos by Cesar Alexander