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<TAPE : PRESS PAUSE> JAY B Back in London Solo

By Mulenga and Senthu

Fan holding a poster. Poster reads: JAY B IN LONDON

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

2022 was such a big year when it came to K-Music and the UK. We had countless K-Artists grace our stages from the likes of DreamCatcher, Wonho, Jessi, Woojin and BlackPink to even playing host to festivals like the MIK Festival in July, which saw a variety of K-Pop and K-Hip Hop artists take to the stage. How fitting it was then that the final K-Pop concert of 2022 was none other than Jay B’s <TAPE : PRESS PAUSE> tour.

Making his solo debut in 2021 after the end of his contract with JYP, Jay B, leader and current member of the group GOT7, has been pursuing solo activities. Signing with Higher Music after his departure from JYP, Jay B made his solo debut with self-written single ‘Switch It Up’ (a whole bop; hearing it live was quite an experience). He went on to release his first solo EP SOMO:Fume in august of the same year.

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

Following the success of his first EP, Jay B released a second EP under his pseudonym Def. titled LOVE in 2022, and then later produced a third EP titled Be Yourself under the stage name Jay B with a new record label CDNZA. With already such an extensive discography as a solo artist coupled with his work with GOT7, it came as no surprise seeing the amount of fans in the audience.

Even before the concert even started, there were a few fans waiting in line outside the venue, bear in mind this was a cold (freezing) Wednesday. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is. There was a meet-and-greet for those who purchased VIP tickets followed by an intermission before the main event. I should also point out that, Jay B was joined on this tour by JOMALXNE who is an up and coming rapper and is Jay B’s childhood friend (seeing the two of them on stage together was very endearing).

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

The atmosphere before the concert was electrifying with fans excited to see their favourite artist live in the flesh. Whilst waiting for the concert to begin, various songs including Eclipse and You Calling My Name could be heard playing from the speakers as fans enjoyed the music and chatted about Jay B and GOT7.

The lights dimmed and the music slowly faded signalling the start of the concert as fans erupted in cheers for Jay B. Jay B appeared on stage dressed in white, flanked by two dancers; the first song he performed was Switch It Up. With powerful melodic vocals, Jay B managed to set the crowd ablaze (It’s only the first song and it’s already hype). Let’s not forget the hot choreography that accompanied this track, we even got a dance break (we love a good dance break).

Taking a short break (very short), we swiftly transitioned into the next song of the evening, AM PM, a slower, more sultry song. The lights changed to orange as Jay B danced on stage with the crowd going wild. He moved from one side of the stage to the other as he interacted and pointed to the crowd while singing ‘I do think about you babe’ as the dancers joined him again on stage (choreography on point, once again).

We then dived straight into In To You, a song that serenaded the crowd as they waved their green lightsticks in unison. Listening to this song, you definitely can’t deny Jay B a place in the Top 10 K-Pop vocalists list.

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

Taking a brief break to introduce himself and interact with the fans, Jay B took the time to express how excited he felt about being in London again and how happy he felt being on tour and seeing his fans here especially after the covid period (He seemed really excited to be here which was really nice although he did express his apologies for not remembering the fact that he has indeed been here before lol).

After his introduction, he moved straight into the next three songs of his set-list, Dive Into You, Count On Me and Sunrise. Being a slow ballad, Dive Into You had the fans waving their hands and their lightsticks as Jay B’s powerful vocals filled the venue (sidenote: this song was part of the OST for the drama Crazy Love starring Kim Jae-Wook and Krystal). Count On Me, the more up-tempo song of the three, had fans cheering as Jay B embraced the stage. The crowd erupted as soon as the intro to Sunrise played. Being a Jay B solo song from GOT7’s 2018 studio album Present: YOU, the cheering and singing-along came as no surprise (OG Ahgases in the building). It was a very special moment.

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

We then took a break as Jay B took the time to rest and interact with the fans once again before moving on to the next two songs B.T.W and FAME (sidenote: the beginning of his conversation with fans very much took an interesting turn; something about it being cold outside but hot inside because he was turning up the heat. He got jokes, you know, lol). He took the time to express that before the concert started, he had been contemplating on how to put on a great stage for the fans but now being on the stage, he felt he was doing a great job (and he really was, there wasn’t a dull moment throughout the entire concert).

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

After interacting with the fans again (It was very endearing to see him try his best to chat with the fans in English), we moved onto the ballad section of the evening. Giving very much break-up song, HUSH, originally featuring PRIMARY, is a slow tempo track. Standing alone on the stage flanked by the blue light, Jay B managed to express all the emotion you would expect from a track like this (Seriously, it could make you cry). Fade Away followed right after and as soon as the track started, you knew it would be another tear jerker (Although slightly less than Hush in my opinion). The combination of the fans singing along as Jay B sang the chorus ‘Fade away, Away away, away away’ was such a vibe. Rainy closed our break-up trio. Written and produced by Jay B on the show Hyena On the Keyboard, Rainy is another break-up track that Jay B wrote with the hopes of making others feel better after having a good cry (his words, not mine). Seeing him perform it on stage, he meant what he said. You could really really see and feel the emotion of this song as he performed it.

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

After a quick break and fan interaction, Jay B invited his special guest JOMALXNE to take to the stage. He opened his set with Blue Dream, a mellow song that gives you the feeling of calmness. During his performance, he moved from the left side of the stage to the right side taking the time to interact with fans making sure they were doing alright and having a good time. Next up was GO, which like Blue Dream, is really soothing. It’s slightly more upbeat compared to Blue Dream but still manages to give off the same cosy feeling. One thing I loved about JOMALXNE was that he was always interacting with the fans, getting them to sing along, talking to them, etc. This created such a warm yet electrifying environment. You could definitely tell that the fans were enjoying it. Finally we had Te!!mewhatyoulike (Odd title, I know. Must be a rapper thing). I really liked the vibe of this song. Also, with an opener like ‘London! Tell me what you like!’, how are you not supposed to enjoy the song?

After the first three songs in the setlist, JOMALXNE took a breather and chatted with the fans before continuing his setlist.

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

Aptly titled GZRGH (꺼지라고해), the whole premise of this song is simply this: you’re free to live your life, eat what you want, wear the prettiest clothes, go clubbing, etc. - just remember to tell any guy that approaches you to f-word off (I’m guessing they’re telling this to their significant other). To everyone’s surprise, Jay B also joined him on stage. Seeing the two of them perform this song together on stage, was quite a sight to see. It genuinely looked like two friends just having a party and having a good time (with over 200 people being there too).

Continuing the hype theme, the next song, 2000 (미발매곡) is a song written and performed by both Jay B and JOMALXNE (how endearing that is). According to JOMALXNE, it is a song that contains (stories) of their childhood. The song itself is a mood, very upbeat and very bouncy and like they said, the song talks about their childhood: concerns about identity, about the future, etc. (I'm sure we can all relate). After the song, Jay B took the time to officially introduce JOMALXNE, which is when we found out that he and JOMALXNE are in fact childhood friends (from day, imagine). In fact, Jay B went on to say how much the song 2000 (미발매곡) means to him and that not only was it unreleased (exclusive, we heard it first), but he would also not be willing to sell it no matter how much he was offered for it (mind you, the song itself is apparently worth a figure with more than 5 zeros) hence the title 미발매곡 (unreleased song). What a way to end a setlist, fans could definitely feel the love.

After a small break, we continue the concert with the next two songs, go UP and The Way We Are. Go Up really managed to hype up the crowd. I can confidently say, no vibes were killed during that song (if you get the reference, big ups). We also welcomed back the amazing dancers who heated up the stage even more. Let’s not forget Jay B taking off a shoe at the end of this song to emphasise the final part of the song and choreography (he legit grabbed his shoe and dropped it to the floor. Snatched it right off his foot). Not only did it make the dancers laugh, but also the fans. The Way We Are, kept with the playful mood. From his third EP, Be Yourself, this track talks about not worrying and imagining yourself achieving everything you wish to achieve. Personally, I felt that the overall vibe of the choreography matched the song very well. It was powerful yet mesmerising.

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

We took another short break with more fan interaction (and Jay B trying to convince the fans that he is in fact not cute but is sexy) before going into Livin’ and Fountain of Youth. Encapsulating the thoughts we’ve all had at least once in our lives, I feel Livin’ really brought the crowd together. Especially when Jay B got the fans to sing along - it was really lovely to see and hear over 200 people harmonising. With Jay B asking the crowd if they are ready to jump, we make a transition to the song Fountain of youth. This was definitely a song I added to my playlist after the concert. It was upbeat and had a happy vibe which made you feel like you could do anything (picture rebellious teenagers running in a field showered in sunlight; that kind of vibe).

With another short break, we moved onto Break It Down and Holyday. Now, with Break it Down, it started off like a mellow, R’n’B type song and then they proceeded to indeed Break it Down (I should have expected it to be honest, I mean the original track features cousin Sik-K so it makes sense). The song was a whole bop and the choreography was even more of a bop. Holyday in comparison is a ballad-type track which saw Jay B take a seat on the edge of the stage as he performed it. A heartfelt song that talks about staying true to yourself and not letting others ruin your vibe; it’s another song I need to add to my morning affirmation playlist (yeah, I have one. It do be like that sometimes). Still in the seated position, he took the time to express his wishes for the next song, Rocking Chair, to be a way for fans to lean on Jay B when they needed it. This song is a soothing ballad that really shows how Jay B wants to be there for his fans whenever they need. A very touching sentiment on his part (really tugs at the ol’ rusty dusty heart strings).

(Image Credit : Nieca Mae)

Taking some time to do a quick outfit change, Jay B reappeared on stage to perform the last two tracks of the evening Right (맞아) and Pray (fyi these are encore tracks that he released under his producer pseudonym Def.). All I can say about these songs is that they have a very interesting take on relationships. Right focuses on a guy who does everything to be the perfect guy for someone but ultimately ends up not being true to himself, whereas Pray focuses on the aftermath of the break-up. Both are quite interesting. I recommend taking a listen for yourself. Ending the concert, Jay B took the time to take photos with his fans and thank all of the staff involved in making the concert possible.

Senthu: Overall, the show demonstrated that Jay B is not only a singer but also a dancer and an all-round performer. Furthermore, in my opinion, Jay B not singing any GOT7 songs was a good idea as it allows him to separate his identity as Jay B from GOT7 and Jay B the solo artist.

Mulenga: And with a set-list composed mainly of songs from Jay B’s first EP SOMO:FUME and third EP Be Yourself with solo songs added in from his JJ-Project era (Fade Away), GOT7 era (Sunrise), his work under the name Def. (Right, Pray) and his earlier works and features as a solo artist (Rainy, Hush), I feel that this concert overall was very well rounded. It also felt like an anthology of all that Jay B has done up till now and all the personas he has had to embody. I look forward to seeing what’s next for the artist known as Jay B.

It was great to see Jay B take to the stage as a soloist because it was long overdue. Always having been active in the production process of GOT7’s extensive discography, it was satisfying to see him perform not only the songs that he created as part of a big label but also the songs he created as a producer in his own right. We look forward to more Jay B music and hopefully more tours in the UK (within reason of course. Jay B has to rest too, right?).

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