Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

JP Saxe brings color to the ‘grey areas’ of Boston

Clara Faulkner

JP Saxe tends to love “a grey area.” On March 6, amid Boston’s rainy and dull backdrop, Saxe created a space that was anything but dreary and colorless. 

At the packed Royale, the singer-songwriter enchanted attendees during the route of his “A Grey Area” world tour. The singer did so invitingly and warmly, allowing you to utilize your vulnerability like never before. 

Saxe delves deep into the recesses of his psyche through his songwriting, aiming to uncover and understand the intricacies of his personality. This fearless approach is evident in his candid discussions about life, loss, and love, as he holds nothing back.

Hailing from Toronto and now based in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist poured his heart into “If The World Was Ending,” featuring Julia Michaels, which captivated audiences worldwide. This song, nominated for “Song of the Year” at the 2021 GRAMMY Awards, has amassed over one billion streams, earning double-platinum certification in the U.S. and six times platinum in Canada. 

Transitioning from the electrifying aura of Saxe’s chart-topping success, the stage was then graced by the soulful presence of Justin Nozuka. 

Commencing the evening, Nozuka mesmerized the audience with a deeply passionate and intense performance. Bathed in Rembrandt-esque lighting, the “After Tonight” crooner poured his heart out, offering a selection from his nearly two-decade career. 

“Despite the chill in this venue all day, your warmth is truly felt,” Nozuka graciously acknowledged the crowd before concluding his set. 

This welcoming ambiance seamlessly transitioned into Saxe’s dynamic performance that ensued.

As the show began, the anticipation in the air was palpable as the stage lights dimmed, enveloping the venue in a hush of darkness. Soft guitar strumming filled the space, signaling the beginning of the night’s journey. The opening chords of “Someone Else’s Home” reverberated through the room, and as the melody unfolded, Saxe appeared in a seafoam green suit. It was clear that something magical was about to happen. 

Saxe’s ability to captivate audiences from the moment he steps onto the stage sets Saxe apart in live performances. Before launching into “For Emilee,” a poignant and heartfelt track, Saxe paused and engaged the crowd in a conversation that transcended the typical artist-audience dynamic. With genuine empathy, he asked if anyone in the room was there with someone who wasn’t receiving the love they deserved. 

Yet, amidst the weight of such profound emotions, Saxe effortlessly transitioned into a moment of lightness and joy. Bringing his younger cousin, who was in attendance for the show, into the spotlight, he infused the atmosphere with warmth and laughter. Adding a gentle melody of “If The World Was Ending,” Saxe ensured that his cousin’s bedtime routine seamlessly blended into the fabric of the performance, adding a touch of familial intimacy to the evening.

At times, Saxe would be seated at the piano, fingers dancing across the keys as he poured his heart into the instrument, drawing out melodies that echoed with emotion. The audience was transfixed, caught in the spell of his soul-stirring ballads. Then, he would spring up from the piano bench and move to the stage microphone, his energy infectious as he delivered more upbeat tracks with the crowd who were dancing and singing along. It was a sight to behold, witnessing his ability to effortlessly transition between introspective moments of vulnerability and lively, energetic performances.

His movements seemed almost magical, prompting a playful thought among the audience: Did Saxe practice teleportation in his spare time? It was as though he could traverse the stage with the grace and ease of a seasoned performer yet with the genuine humility and charm of someone who truly loves what they do.

At various points during the show, Saxe blessed the audience with acapella performances, captivating everyone in the room. A particularly memorable instance was during “Same Room,” when Saxe crafted a mesmerizing moment of intimacy and connection. Standing at the center of the stage, bathed in a solitary spotlight, he sang with haunting sincerity. The gentle strumming of his guitar provided the only accompaniment to his soulful vocals, creating a spellbinding atmosphere that held the audience in rapt attention.

During his rendition of “Fear & Intuition,” the Toronto native paused, engaging the crowd to help craft a Boston-inspired second chorus. 

Demonstrating his impressive skill, Saxe spontaneously penned a new verse on the spot, cleverly rhyming “get drunk” with “Yankees Suck,” evoking cheers from Red Sox Nation in the audience. This impromptu moment showcased his talent, quick wit, and connection with the lively Boston crowd. This atmosphere likely prevented me from shedding more tears than I did (which, to my surprise, amounted to three occasions).

As Saxe transitioned through his setlist, the performance felt like a time capsule, seamlessly blending old favorites with the freshness of his new songs. This diverse selection catered to the audience’s varied age ranges, creating a shared experience transcending generational boundaries. 

The crowd, a mix of long-time fans and newcomers alike, seemed to unite in the joy of his music, creating a vibrant and memorable evening for everyone present. His performance was a beacon of light in the darkness, a reminder that beauty exists even in life’s grey areas.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Clara Faulkner
Clara Faulkner, Operations Managing Editor
Clara Faulkner wears multiple hats at the Beacon, serving as both the Business Director and the Living Arts Editor. Prior to assuming these roles, she demonstrated her expertise as an assistant editor, specializing in living arts—a domain she is deeply passionate about, fueled by her love for pop culture and entertainment. Additionally, Clara served as a writer for the Boston Globe, Boston.com, is a part of NBCUniversal Entertainment Group, and contributed to the music team at Intersect Magazine. In addition to her editorial responsibilities, Clara actively participates in various campus organizations, including SPJ, Associate Entertainment Producer at WEBN-TV, programming director at WECB. fm, and AEPHI. Outside of her writing pursuits, Clara immerses herself in culinary exploration, cinematic enjoyment, and language acquisition, consistently seeking fresh experiences and knowledge.
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Berkeley Beacon intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. We welcome strong opinions and criticism that are respectful and constructive. Comments are only posted once approved by a moderator and you have verified your email. All users are expected to adhere to our comment section policy. READ THE FULL POLICY HERE: https://berkeleybeacon.com/comments/
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *