I got to see 2 amazing and quite different women performers and all it took was 3 city blocks, 2 countries, oh and being in two places at once 🙂 Well, not quite I started the night at Target Center being wowed by Florence and the Machine then left my daughter behind to take notes 2/3s through the show (no, it’s not child abandonment, she’s 21 but thanks for caring) as I simply had to catch Jain at the Fine Line.
I arrived just as Drama started their set and true to their name, therewas drama – someone in the front row fainted. Staff and Minneapolis Fire came to the rescue and the show resumed after a few minutes. Drama is a Chicago based duo made up of Na’el Shehade and Via Rosa. Their sound was quite chill, and even with the break (resumed with who the F is ready for this show) in their set did a nice job of getting the growing crowd in the mood. There’s quite the serious music background between them and Rosa briefly explained how the band came to be. Drama’s last song was accompanied by soap bubbles.
Last night’s show had been sold out for quite some time, and it was my first time back at the Fine Line since First Avenue purchased the venue. Small changes have been made. Patrons are are now able to go outside to smoke (just a breath of downtown air) and come back inside. The old smoking patio seems to have been retired, the yellow boundary lines on the floor are gone as well. The venue retains its character and knowing First Ave, there are more tweaks coming.
Jain burst onto the US music scene in 2017 coming out of nowhere with “Makeba” fascinating us with her blend of modern dance music and global rhythms. Her show at the Entry sold out in an instance and filling the Fine Line to capacity did not take much longer. It felt a bit less crowded than usual, maybe fans were more “friendly” packing in on the main floor.
Jain is a solo act supported by a multitude of computers and controls. But she’s far from a “DJ hiding behind a turntable”, there’s a ton of personality that’s as charming as her music. “Alright” got us started and the build up in the song was a perfect choice for the first number. Her beats pulsed through the Fine Line and even the older, uh more reserved, crowd on the balcony was dancing. Beneath her melodies lurk lyrics that take a look at current issues from the despair of everyday live in “Mr. Johnson” (which when pronounced with a French accent becomes a charming Mr. Jooooohnson) to the police “Inspecta”.
She laughed at herself when she forgot lyrics for a second and joked about it a bit later. She also took a moment to explain her wrist controller that allows her to start and stop different tracks on her computer. But as cutting edge as she is with her instruments, she’s not afraid to whip out her guitar (or two in one case). An acoustic version of “Souldier” was well received.
My favorite song of her set was “On my way” she somehow managed to bring both Indian as well as North African Rhythms into the song and I found my hands doing moves that would fit into a Bollywood dance scene (if it featured big Austrian guys). I went home with a smile on my face – always a good sign after show. Check out Jain’s new album “Souldier” and if you see a live date for her near you – grab those ticket, you won’t be sorry.