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Majid Jordan in concert: good vibes only

Jan. 26, 2018
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On a chilly Tuesday night in Washington D.C., I made my way to the iconic Lincoln Theater and hoped my resale ticket would get me in to see Majid Jordan. I was freezing waiting in line, but I had my sugary Starbucks to comfort me. Already I could feel the excitement emanating from those in line. What stood out to me is that the Canadian alternative R&B duo—formed by collaborators Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman—attracted a very diverse audience, including a lot of people from Al Maskati’s own background. Not only that, though: everybody in that line was so well-dressed, the night was already turning into a movie. 

Majid Jordan might be somewhat of an enigma to their audience. Some people still don’t know they are two people. But they’re intriguing enough to keep listening. At both shows I have been to, each a year apart, the audience could not get enough. At the end of the performance, the audience did not move; seconds later, they were screaming encore. Clocking in at a bit over an hour, Majid Jordan’s set can seem kind of short, and I felt what everyone else felt: We need more. The ambiance created by the lighting and technology made it difficult to imagine returning to reality after the show.

The show opener, Parisian producer STWO, had a lot to do with creating that initial ambience. His music goes really well with the vibe of Majid Jordan’s music: both of them have a moody yet colorful sound—a kind of “set the mood”-type music, a music that reveals a lust for the good things in life. 

But what really got my attention, I realize, was Majid Jordan’s stage presence and performance. Throughout the concert, I was literally in awe—you could even say I was “shook.” Ullman was so into what they were playing, and Al Maskati bounded on stage with enough energy to boost my iPhone battery charge up by two percent. But even more than the energy between them and the audience, there was a sense of familiarity on stage, a sense of comfort I hadn’t seen at their concert a year ago.

Majid Jordan made the stage their own, so much so that everyone clearly was feeding off the good vibes. Couples were swaying together to the moody dance music. It was like watching one of those cheesy old romantic movies—in a high school gym, the co-star couple looking at each other all sappy-like, with Majid Jordan making a cameo appearance as the band on stage. The honest lyrics could have been one of the stars’ voice-over confessions: the couple gazing into each other’s eyes, neither needing to say anything because of the perfect understanding between them.

As the concert came to an end, Ullman held up a peace sign as the lights dimmed: their signature concert sign-off. They ran up to the crowd and thanked people as the audience held their hands out toward them. They hugged right before walking off the stage, and after hearing the boys around me fangirling, I realized how meaningful it must have been for the younger guys in the audience to see male performers on stage they could look up to. 

Over the past year, Majid Jordan have come into their own as performers, always moving with a sauve air around them. That growth was a wonderful thing to witness at the concert Tuesday night. Seeing growth in artists over time reminds us all that there is a process to things—and that trusting the process will lead to something good.