Live review: Nite Jewel at the Troubadour


The fact that Nite Jewel titled their new e.p. “Am I Real?” seems apt.  This is a band touching on big ideas, but still implacably held by doubt.

Every piece is there for a truly devastating act – Ramona Gonzalez’s lilting voice has a wide reach and a knack for making sadness sound both icy and inviting at once. In her young career, she’s arrived at a fully-realized sound palette of soft-focus synthesizers, and this newest incarnation of her live band sports some high-wire instrumentalists. Her new e.p. is her most fidelity-focused and vigorously produced thing in her catalog and has maybe her best song yet on it.

And yet. At the release party for “Am I Real?” at the Troubadour last night, the band went back and forth between an intriguing sense of remove and just feeling distant and lax. They use obscurity to great effect on record, and like most problems in life, this can probably be solved live with lazers and fog machines.  But they need to figure out how to make their night-driving mood feel more definitely real in person.

The best part of Nite Jewel live is the exacting skill of the rhythm section – Cory Lee plays the record’s slap-bass samples with Bootsy Collins precision, and drummer Gavin Salmon manages to be both completely in pocket while breaking rhythms into tiny, sharp pieces. Gonzalez and her partner in Nite Jewel, Cole M. Grief-Neill,  are virtuoso synth wranglers, and even Julia Holter, the droll female backup singer with few responsibilities

August Brown Local music Nite Jewel
09/03/2010 14:56

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