Once again it was an eventful Friday evening for music in the Twin Cities, but perhaps one of the most anticipated shows of the weekend was a sold-out Léon and Jacob Banks show at 7th Street Entry. Minneapolis was just one of many stops on Léon’s first headlining Northern American tour, and it was an absolutely stunning evening of live music. Léon and Jacob Banks have been selling out city after city on their tour.
Opening up the evening is up-and-comer Jacob Banks. Banks hails from the UK by way of Nigeria and has an EP and LP due out this year. He took to the stage shortly after 9:00 pm with his band with a calm but commanding demeanor. It seemed a lot of folks at the Entry were unfamiliar with Jacob Banks before last night. But the moment he opened his mouth and out flows buttery smooth soulful sounds, the crowd was absolutely hooked. Banks has a baritone voice that stops you dead in your tracks – it’s raw, it’s real, it hits your heart like a flaming arrow. It’s a sound that feeds your soul with it’s richness. I don’t think Minneapolis was expecting what Jacob Banks brought to The Entry last night, but they were quickly taken by his performance.
“I’m going to play some mad depressing songs tonight. But don’t worry, you can have fun later,” Banks joked through his thick British accent. Banks and his band are self-proclaimed digital soul, but that’s just what it is. It’s a mix of old-school soul artists such as Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, with modern production. Banks set included his single Monster, which seems to draw some inspiration from his Nigerian roots, along with Mercy, Silver Lining and a cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s Let Your Hair Down, which got the crowd singing along.
“This song is about the end of relationship. When we say nice things like I hope you find love and I hope you find happiness but what I really wanna say is I hope you never have children,” Banks joked ahead of his song Unknown. Banks also played his newest single Unholy War which he just dropped this week. Banks set was sadly just under 40-ish minutes, leaving the crowd wanting more. Last night was a good night to be at The Entry because after 2017 I don’t think many will have the chance to see Banks in such an intimate setting.And of course headlining the evening was Swedish songstress Léon. Léon first was slung into popularity with the release of her infectiously catchy track Tired of Talking via Soundcloud. This song has garnered millions of streams worldwide and was definitely a highlight from her set last night. Léon is absolutely stunning in person, and her voice is even more stunning. Sometimes with artists you aren’t sure how their music will translate live, but Léon absolutely blew it out of the water. A multi-talented musician, she played The Entry with a command of someone beyond her years. Like Jacob Banks, I doubt we will be luckily enough to experience the goddess that is Léon in a small setting like The Entry again.
Léon had the crowd hooked on her every word, her every move. Her set included Think About You, Liar, and Treasure. She also played an absolutely perfect cover of The Arctic Monkey’s Why You’d Only Call Me When You’re High.
Last night was a showcase of artists to watch in 2017. It may be only February but Jacob Banks and Léon are definitely in the running for one of my favorite shows of 2017.