Nicolas Jaar @ Barrowlands, Glasgow, 1 Jun

Live Review by Claire Francis | 13 Jun 2017
  • Nicolas Jaar

"Please dial this toll-free number to begin the show, and kindly place your portable telephone on speaker function," reads the message projected onto the Barrowland Ballroom's dimly-lit stage. Call the number, and what do you hear? A smattering of sprightly techno music, played on loop. The intro is unexpected, confounding, and playful. In short, it's quintessential Nicolas Jaar.

We should expect as much. Jaar's LP Sirens, which dropped last year, was arguably one of 2016's best and most eclectic electronic releases. Doing away with convention, Sirens traverses pop, techno and ambient terrain, blending in tinkling piano, harsh drums, guitar, samples, synth and spoken word lyrics. It's unsettling yet completely original and undeniably compelling – much like the live show Jaar has in store tonight.

On a smoke-saturated stage Jaar is a barely perceptible figure. Slim rods of light cast a green glow across the haze, as the Chilean-American producer teases a thirsty crowd with a long, ambient intro. When he finally bursts into a flurry of moody, pulsing beats, the audience loses it. Yet Jaar is just as quick to reign it in, and this cat-and-mouse game continues throughout the set.

There are periods of wandering electro-noise, pushed into thumping, danceable territory. A couple of Sirens tracks are a welcome inclusion and showcase Jaar's familiar baritone, layered with distortion effects. His encore is two minutes of the most thunderous, stomping techno you're likely to encounter – and then it's abruptly over, with our ringmaster vanished and a crowd left hungry for more. Rather than offering up a three course meal, tonight Jaar has given us an elusive taster of his many and multiform talents.

http://nicolasjaar.net/