“Tonight, we meet our ex-wives,” a guy declared to the restroom line, gesturing expansively to a row of Alice In Wonderland mirrored doors. The announcement that young smoking gun Nicolas Jaar was debuting his live band at Le Bain resulted in it selling out prior, and the dark club overlooking New York City and Jersey over the Hudson was now rammed. It was packed less in a chic way and more in an uncomfortably jostling manner than the frou-frou venue probably had hoped, and the genius who decided to make the only entrance to the ‘VIP’/bottle service section that surrounded the band center front of the stage, well, we owe you about five misplaced gropes and a spilt Bacardi and soda over your leather brogues.
Jaar was seemingly oblivious to the fracas he was causing; he stood calmly behind his computer with his back towards the big glass windows facing Jersey. The 20 year old sipped on a glass with a lime wedge slotted on the rim (we wonder if he was permitted to drink alcohol as a ‘special treat’—it was his show in his hometown, after all) and when he started his slow burn nearly 1.5 hours after the advertised time (fashionably late, if you will), most of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd dismissed its frustration. Striped waitresses pushed through with extended arms carrying full trays of drinks, but Jaar made the annoyance was less annoying, and people began to pump and flail thin arms about accordingly. The music was our collective cue open to interpretation. The tall German standing next to me promptly put on his sunglasses.
Space Is Only Noise is a smoldering release, casual in its tempo but heightened in intensity. Jaar had the live dynamics of the LP right, augmented comfortably by his babyfaced band—the wiry-haired guitarist, the hunched saxophonist and his drummer who looked pained and joyous simultaneously—who lifted the feel from lounge to minimally thumping electronic. It was nice to see a young group fully consumed by what it was doing, causing a domino effect so strong that even the VIPs, who began demurely seated on the windowsill, stood in bunches at the back of the ‘stage’ vibing.
While so young, Jaar seems to have some kind of unruffled presence, and even without the band he probably could have maintained the same level of crowd attention. The nature of his music is understated and unassuming, swimmingly silent in a kind of ‘I command you to be still’ manner and far more mature than it should be, based on the age of its creator. It translated as this much live, Jaar concentrating on his task at hand, while others—99 per cent older than him—set out to meet their future exes with New York City glimmering in the background.