REVIEW: Jon Bellion at Summerfest
With a crowd swelling out deep into the back of the Miller Lite Oasis on Friday night, Jon Bellion was taken aback by the number of people that came to see him. All it took was one simple beep, the opening sound of set opener “He Is The Same”, as well as Bellion’s album, “The Human Condition”, to get the decibel levels up in the center of the Summerfest grounds. Bellion, along with backing band and hypeman Travis Mendes, came out in darkness and mouthed words of thanks to the crowd, and then proceeded to put on a lively hour-long set with little to no down time.
Bellion and Mendes frequently covered as much ground as they could, switching sides with one another and bouncing around the stage all night. Rather than saving his biggest hit, “All Time Low”, for the last number of the night, he launched into the breakthrough single second on his setlist, a gamble that paid off immensely. Prior to the song, however, he had just announced that his album had gone gold, and the single had gone double platinum, which are both unarguably amazing feats in today’s music industry. Bellion appeared humbled, and introduced the song as “maybe the only song you know from me”, and then went right back to the energetic, swagger filled pop star that he is becoming. An earnest moment, but still able to keep the flow of the show going.
Bellion communicated a lot with the crowd throughout the night, touching on everything from a lack of actual groove in music on the radio to the importance of the youth of today to see the world from a colorblind perspective, all while tearing down the house at the Miller Lite Oasis. Equally as impressive were his band, which could knock out tracks from “The Human Conditon” and 2014 debut “The Definiton”, but also individually showcase their skills in the set. Bellion, who produces his own music, gave a quick how-to in beat making, with his band assembling the cornucopia of sounds that is his track “Luxury” piece by piece. Later in the set, Bellion also got competitive with his drummer and bass player, challenging them to mimmick his beatboxing with a live drumbeat, which they did handily.
From start to finish, even if you didn’t know Jon Bellion’s music, you couldn’t help but be entertained by his energy and on-stage presence. Both his and Mendes’ ability to feed off of one another was captivating, and just a little necessary to work in the live setting. The crowd and the band fed off of one another’s energy, and when that happens, nobody is leaving unhappy.