Review: Jon Bellion at The Vogue Theatre
Jon Bellion knows how to charm his crowd, and there’s no doubt about that. The 26-year-old Lake Grove, NY singer/rapper has found his audience thanks to his bubbly personality and a penchant for quirky, outsider hip-hop. Then there’s his beautiful singing voice. Based on his thrilling performance at The Vogue Theatre, the man has vocal stamina that lasts a whole set.
Bellion has been featured on several EDM crossover hits, most notably ZEDD’s catchy party jam “Beautiful Now” and more recently on Vice’s “Obsession”. But tonight, he would stick to his own catalogue, mostly pulling from his debut LP The Human Condition.
Appearing onstage in his own tour merch tee (reading “Money is not the key to wealth”, no less) and smiling ear to ear, Bellion was a delight to watch onstage. But, he also knows the importance of social cues and when to strike an emotional nerve. After busting out with opening track “He Is The Same”, the visibly upset Bellion started tearing up speaking to the prior evening’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, mentioning how members of the tour crew had immediate family affected by the attack. When Bellion asked the crowd for thirty seconds of silence, he received it.
There was something chilling about the oft party-leaning Vogue Theatre at a peaceful still for this brief moment. A man who can get a Vancouver crowd to be quiet must truly have some clout.
After the silence, Bellion told the crowd “My heart is heavy tonight. We don’t know who’s gonna be here tomorrow.” Despite these deep thoughts, Bellion would keep things mostly light and fun for the rest of the evening. Accompanied by opening act Travis Mendez, who acted much like a hype man for most of the set, Bellion’s set was a fun, carefree romp that served as a much needed break from the bleak news of the real world outside. Ever the figure of optimism, Bellion inspired his crowd not only with his sunshiney tunes, but with his empowering messages between songs. “Tonight is a living representation of what this country could be,” he told the crowd. “We are gonna be safe, and we are gonna enjoy music tonight.”
Jon Bellion has an undeniable magnetism onstage. His bright, vibrant persona shines through as he both sings and raps through his set. Personally, I enjoy his more melodic, singing-style tracks. The crowd, on the other hand, seems to enjoy seeing Bellion bust out his rapping chops. Flip flopping between the two styles, Bellion is a true renaissance man who can hold his own in both camps. Standouts like single “All Time Low” and “Guillotine” showed his powerful stage prowess and a true ability to seemingly enjoy performing for his fans. Nothing is pretentious here, just a man loving every minute that he makes his fans happy.
On the whole, Bellion’s set was a cohesive, beautifully realized vision that elevated The Human Condition from album to a real life, multimedia-infused spectacle. Considering the tour was dubbed The Human Condition Part III (following the Part II tour last year), it makes sense that we are seeing a true-to-form album-turned-tour. It would have been nice to see a bit more song variety in terms of the set, but you can’t really fault a guy who puts this much energy and passion into what he does. He told his audience that the live incarnation of The Human Condition was “…for the fans strictly,” and that it would be a “celebration” of the album.
Intricate, colourful video art backed up Bellion and his stellar band for much of the set, notably during tracks like “’80s Films”, which donned a montage of cult favourite movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and ET. The icing on the cake, though, may have been Bellion’s dance moves. Not only can the guy sing, but he can shake his ass like crazy. Wonder if he can cook too.