Jaedyn James & the Hunger

by Ryan Glenn

Begging for seconds 

St. Patricks Day. The eponymous day for appropriated drunkenness at any nearby spot.  While many were able to achieve this simple goal with green beer and Jame-o, the real fun was had shaking rumps at the Rex with Jaedyn James and the Hunger. 

Coming from our southern city of Minneapolis, Jaedyn James & the Hunger have been busting out funk laden soul jams for 3 years now. The singer and her ten piece band have made a name for themselves around the Minneapolis area, becoming a monthly staple at The Dakota Jazz Club.  The group has come together to form a modern interpretation of big band stylings.  They have the siren voice, the horns, the back-up girls, the dresses and the ties.  They also have the sleeve tats and a strong female lead (who is definitely in charge of her show) to keep up with the times. 

Jaedyn and crew put on an amazingly energetic show, which is a true feat at 12:00am after driving north for 3 hours. While Jaedyn roams the stage gyrating and popping, the crew has their own choreographed moves for different tunes. Working together, they all command and demand your attention throughout the show. They have the usual call and response bits from singer and horn players, but I was certainly surprised to see Jaedyn leap into the crowd to dance with fellow hip shakers in the audience.  If there was anything other than pure energy, bliss and spunk coming from the stage it would hard to spot. 

Pulling tunes from last years debut, Raw, as well as a few covers (including a righteous red today ‘Conquest’), there was never a dull moment. The pacing was spot-on with some funk bangers to start and slow crooners to dance to sprinkled in between.  It felt as though I had happened upon a speakeasy from years gone with all the dancing and whiskey in tow. Even the fashion and attitude of the players evoked this sense of other time and place. James’ voice carried throughout the duration of the show wonderfully. She is strong and brash, yet also soothing and beautiful to listen to and always dressed aesthetically impeccably. Her band is equally as strong, consisting of diet singers, multiple horn players, bass, keys and drums.  Jaedyn and crew have honed their set into a packed little bit of fun that’s really hard not to root for and smile throughout. 

A mantra Jaedyn often a repeats is to ‘stay hungry’ and it fits her shows very well. There is a primal sense to it. Dances are borderline twerking, lyrics are snarled and grunted, and slips underneath dresses are flashing red from time to time. There is an intentionally crude and rough nature to this as they point out the hurried completion of their album. Everything is, as the album suggests, raw. It’s strikingly refreshing to watch a group be comfortable with that sort of attitude, yet still sound finely tuned. 

The one shortcoming I can take from the night was the order of events seemed off. Many came to see the “opener” Big Wave Dave and thus many started to leave before being able to see Jaedyn.  Had it been the other way around, James may have reached more people and the bar would have stayed busier throughout the night. That said, it was all in all a wonderfully pleasant evening to dance, be merry and run into old friends. 

You can find out more about 
Jaedyn James and the Hunger here:

Jaedyn James & The Hunger – 
Stay Hungry

For upcoming shows check out here:
Jaedyn James & The Hunger | 
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-Ryan Glenn
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@ryanglennmn