As I made myself comfortable on the second floor, I looked down to MTelus’ pit and watched as people kept pouring in, packing themselves up like sardines for the show to come. The repetitive beat playing through the speakers starts to raise people’s anticipation as time keeps passing. Every time it paused to loop back around, the crowd started cheering in hopes that it was time for an artist to step on stage, only for that same beat to start up again one more time.
Finally, the crowd’s wishes came true, and Jordan Ward practically flew on stage, jumping around and encouraging movement from the crowd. He immediately brought a great amount of energy to the start of his set and kept it up until his very last moment up on stage.
The crowd clearly was loving his performance, following along when he encouraged participation and dancing along with him as well. He told the crowd about the record he had dropped about two weeks prior called “FORWARD”. Tracks like “WHITE CROCS” and “FAMJAM4000” were performed, and they sounded really great. He’s clearly got his style down and knows exactly how he wants his music to be taken in and consumed. After pretty much each song, he had the crowd repeat the title two or three times, ensuring that when they got home everyone would have a better chance at remembering the song they had a good time dancing to.
His performance was so much fun. Jordan Ward is quite the theatrical performer; he danced impressively the entire time, and often interacted with his audience. He definitely got Montreal all excited and giddy for the upcoming performances.
Now, this is the point of the night where things kick up quite a bit. Smino’s stage company (I believe her name was Shanae) got the set started, singing and getting the crowd to repeat lyrics back to her.
The second that Smino stepped on stage, everyone went crazy. Getting started strong with “KLINK,” the whole crowd began jumping in unison, dancing and matching Smino’s energy from the very beginning of his set to the very last moment. The background visuals on the heart-shaped screens were flashing all sorts of colours, beautifully accompanied by the clever lighting.
The platform added to the stage lit up as well, flashing a variety of colours either in formation or randomly as Smino walked around, keeping a beautiful flow.
Transitions between songs were phenomenally seamless. Each beat flowed into the other, along with the lighting that would completely change the vibe in the room depending on the style of each song. From electrifying green to humble and smooth pink. But no matter the lighting or the visuals, or the vibe of the song, Montreal’s crowd did not hesitate to go nuts, singing and dancing along with Smino.
Lots of crowd participation with this set as well, Smino made sure to encourage the crowd and give lots of instruction, telling them which way he wants them to move or how many arms he wants in the air. He spent a bit of time speaking to his audience as well, giving love and appreciation to his day one fans, talking about his Luv is Forever tour with JID, and admitting he hasn’t performed in Montreal since 2019.
He also mentioned that border control took all his weed when crossing into Canada and said he wouldn’t be mad if anyone had anything to gift him. Judging by the cheers from the crowd, I’m sure plenty of people present were more than happy to share what they had with him.
After messing around with the crowd for a bit, Smino told the crowd to light up whatever they had to smoke for his next song. “I don’t care what you got to smoke; I just want you all to start lighting it up.” He said, and dozens of little orange dots sparked up all around the pit.
Smino seems so at ease on stage, completely in his element, truly perfected his craft and style. He kept his audience’s attention firmly in his grasp, delivering an excellent set filled with tracks like “Z4L” from his 2022 record “Luv 4 Rent” and older tracks off 2018 record “NOIR” and my personal favourite, 2017 “blkswn.”
A tour like this is special, Smino having an hour-long set just before JID takes the stage is a recipe for an incredible show, and I’m so glad I got to be there.
As the lights went down and everyone in attendance slowly stopped their loud cheering to watch these beautiful and theatrical visuals play on the screens while “Galaxy” opened up the set. I could feel everyone’s anticipation, and my nerves joined theirs while waiting for what was coming.
Anticipation and nerves burst through the seams once JID appeared on stage, the intro to one of my favourite songs “NEVER,” ringing through the room. An absolute classic to start with. The crowd lost it; everyone sang along and moved against each other in the pit as JID kept perfect pace and flow, already leaving us all in amazement.
The bass vibrated throughout the entire venue, I was sitting on the second floor, and I still felt it shake the floor beneath me. It’s beautiful, it’s genuine, it’s stunning art. The visuals playing behind JID struck my eye but never took attention away from him. He was absolutely doing an amazing job keeping everyone’s attention, not once stumbling.
He also made sure the crowd would participate as much as possible, giving the audience queues to follow with hearts to throw up or lyrics to sing. He knew exactly how to lead his audience for a really fun show, had everyone was enchanted with his clever lyrics.
JID mentioned that this show was sold out and voiced heartfelt appreciation for everyone’s support for his work.
During his performance of “Bruddanem,” visuals on the screen played clips of high school pictures and images from childhood, showing the warmth of brotherly love and family. This song was followed by “Sistanem,” another
touching track about the relationships JID has with the women in his life. It’s this kind of vulnerability that makes any good artist reach greatness. Before continuing his set, JID asks his audience to put up their flashlights and light up the room. “Can we turn this mother fuckin room into a galaxy with all those stars?” and once he could see everyone’s flashlights up in the air, he instructed them to wave them all back and forth while the opening for “Stars” started up.
He then promised that he was going to turn up the intensity a notch with every song he performed after this raw and emotional period of his set. And he really wasn’t joking. With “Just in Time,” he had everyone present bumping to this monstrous beat. It sounded incredible, and the flashing light show really accentuated the vibe of the song.
“That was level one; next is level two.” He said once the song had ended, continuing with “Off Deez” definitely brought it up a level. His insanely fast flow brought everyone to dance and move with the pit at much more velocity, the bass travelling around the room, guiding people as they moved.
The most intense track, though, he saved for last. Before ending his set with “Stick,” JID asked for a pit to open up. I watched as the pit kept moving and moving for this massive pit to stretch as far as it would go. And I watched as everyone crashed together once the song dropped. JID gave it all for this last one, knowing that since the show went on later than scheduled, it wasn’t possible for an encore.
Despite that, no one left that venue feeling unfulfilled. I heard everyone talk to each other about how crazy that show was the whole walk to my car. I even watched as JID took a shoe off his foot and signed it for a fan right in front of the stage.
JID and Smino touring together like this is insanely special, and I can’t even begin to describe how great of an opportunity it was to see these artists that I’ve loved since high school. I’m positive everyone that was there at MTelus would agree with me that this show was a treasure.
Review – Jamie Siddall
Photos – Steve Gerrard