Concert Review: Jam Hsiao

The Orleans, Dec. 7

I like experiencing new and musically interesting shows. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese native’s perfect pop persona failed to bring much beyond Top-40 knockoffs.

Hsiao, a talented vocalist with a camera-ready jawline, was discovered via a popular Taiwanese talent show and has been selling No. 1 hits in Asia since 2008. But he seems transparently groomed for a mass market so saturated by Western pop tropes that if it hadn’t been for the Mandarin lyrics and stage patter, I could have been listening to New Kids on the Block rip-offs and arena rock stylings a la Triumph. Still, my disappointment seemed unique. The manufactured, syrupy, vanilla tunes—such as “Marry Me,” “Loving You Too Deeply” and “Miss You Forever” (the titles are rough English translations)—were replete with aching-heart vocals and crying guitars. They drew fans, like the young couple next to me, who traveled from L.A. to cheer and squeal and wiggle their light wands. ★★☆☆☆