Live, Briefly: J. Holiday at J&R


Morrissey looks on with disdain.

J. Holiday
Downtown J&R In-Store
Tuesday, March 10

If J. Holiday doesn’t play “Bed,” I’m throwing a Roy Orbison box-set at his head. The lithe boudoir-jam r&b singer was blessed in 2007 with the best song The-Dream will ever be associated with, and the rest is, uh, the present day: Holiday’s new album, Round 2, is out this week, first single “It’s Yours” a reasonable piano-and-synth pillow-clutcher facsimile of his previous sorta-hit. (As for the rest of the album, though, try not to wince at these three little words: “Featuring Rick Ross.”) To “celebrate,” he offered a brief four-song set to a devoted crew of autograph-seekers at J&R, which is not where you go to feel good about the music industry, be you a consumer or J. Holiday himself. The unprofessional photo above captures the ambiance nicely. (New Kelly Clarkson for $7 though.)

Mr. Holiday is a pro, in any event, and despite a not-ideal crowd division — all autograph/photo seekers, i.e. his fans, are arranged in a long line to his far left, leaving him to emote his we’ll-do-it-all-night Smoove B jams to a front row consisting entirely of photographers — he moans and purrs admirably while a live band vamps behind him and backing vocals burp forth from a laptop. The new stuff is fine, fine. (“This next song is called ‘Make That Sound.’ I guess that’s self-explanatory.”) But the majestic “Bed,” our answered-prayer/threat closing number, eclipses all else, even in this rather dour setting, a Smoove B column brought to vibrant life, “I’ll send you out into the world with my love,” etc. etc. Peas will also be served. I didn’t throw any box sets, but I didn’t buy any, either.

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