Photos and Review by Emily Gringorten
On Friday September 29th, hundreds of young and extraordinarily fashionable fans piled into the Regency Ballroom in SF to catch a glimpse of the mysterious and elusive Jai Paul. The British singer, songwriter, and producer delivered a stellar performance that proved that some things are just worth the wait (even if it’s a decade).
In 2013, Paul’s project Bait Ones was leaked, triggering a hiatus from music. 10 years later, he re-entered the public eye and performed for the very first time at Coachella. Soon after, Paul announced a short tour comprising 2 stops in LA, 2 in SF, and 4 international dates in Europe and Australia.
No opener, so fans waited anxiously in the dark until 9:15 when the giant screen began strobing and woke us all from our daze. Preceded by his 3 piece band, Paul began with his Big Boi and Little Dragon collaboration “Higher Res.” Next was “He,” a crowd favorite. Between his ethereal vocals and confident stage presence, you’d never know that he’s still a newbie when it comes to concerts.
Though he sang in the shadows for most of the show, it was impossible to miss his lime green hair and signature oval sunglasses. I was a little disappointed by the dim light; my photos didn’t turn out as bright as I’d hoped and I wanted to get a better look at his face. But, Paul has never been one for the spotlight, and this is on brand for his carefully curated image. As for the setlist, I thought it was the perfect mix of covers and originals, my favorite being a rendition of “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk. He also played a great selection of tracks from his iconic leaked project, including “Jasmine,” “BTSTU,” and “Crush.”
The highlight for me was the set closer, “Str8 Outta Mumbai,” which had everyone going absolutely crazy. I almost ran down from my photographing perch on the balcony to join the fun. When the song ended, he quickly slinked off the stage as gracefully as he’d entered it. Jai Paul is definitely one of those “IYKYK” artists, and I’m so glad I know!