We Went There: Nicolas Jaar at First Ave
Nicolas Jaar, a Chilean producer who has created some of the most exciting and spellbinding music of the last half-decade, came to First Avenue for a show the night before Americans hit the polls for the 2016 election. His show is a sparse production, with Jaar standing solitary on stage surrounded by a rack of electronics and a few analog instruments, and the show had a tense and thematic feel. Little did we know what was coming later in the week.
Playing much of the music off his outstanding Sirens LP, with a few old favorites like “Space is Only Noise” scattered in, it was a no frills evening of hypnotic electronic and experimental music. Mostly functioning behind his electronics — veering off occasionally to play sax or sing — it was an evening of teeth-rattling bass and seizure-inducing strobe lights. The stage was thick with smoke and stark lights, adding to the weightiness of Jaar’s charged music and political lyrics. It was a cacophony of sound that seemed to capture the looming disaster facing the country 24 hours later.
It is always challenging to be a electronic artist who doesn’t make “dance music,” but Jaar was up to the task. His set stood on its own two feet, even without a opener, and was as commanding and captivating a show as I have seen in a while.