I cannot tell you how long I've been waiting to type this one simple sentence - Live in SF: Nicolas Jaar. Last Sunday night, San Francisco's The Independent packed a sold out floor for Nico's west coast debut. To put it extremely lightly, the Brooklyn/Chilean artist did not disappoint.
After a half hour wait after the opener, Nico bounded up onto the stage, accompanied by Dave Harrington and Will Epstein. Ever the perfectionist, Nico dutifully checked his set up before hitting the first bass tumbling note. Equipped with a simple button up shirt and some snazzy Under Armor pants, Nico conjured a formidable cloud of sound which rumbled through the expectant crowd. Epstein and Harrington brought their saxophone and guitar to support Nico's minimal, diffused introduction. Throughout the next three minutes, "Why Can't You Save Me" poked its head out of the nebulous melody, and the show took off.
If you are familiar with Nico's library, you may be expecting a more chill, quirky set from this Brown college student; certainly, that was what I was thinking I would be showing up to. But as evidenced from his music, Nico does not like to do the expected. A master of transitions, tempo variation, and experimentally dense tracks, the set was dark yet invigorating. Deep bass lines dropped here and there, their perfect placement building and releasing tension in an orgasmic manner. Throughout the 45 minutes of the main set, Jaar dropped tracks like "Space is Only Noise," "Variations," and "Dubliner," leaning towards the instrumental numbers. Tracks from Space Is Only Noise were spattered about, but their basic musical skeleton was less kin to the slow, molasses tone of the album, more trending with support by the aforementioned rotund bass notes.
Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Nico and company returned for the encore and pulled out all the stops. Moving away from the up and down of the main set, Nico started solo with his Scout Larue collaboration "With Just One Glance" and the crowd lost all control. Taking a page from his techno influences, the bass bumped for the 20 minutes and so did the BPM. Remixes and edits abound, we danced Sunday night away. Closing with "Mi Mujer," Nico's Spanish fluttered into the microphone, a perfect nightcap for the profound hour just experienced.
For a photographic experience of the show, check out these awesome snaps, courtesy of Stereogum.