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Hamilton, Ontario based artist-producer Jessy Lanza played one of her first headlining shows in New York City last night at Santos Party House. She sauntered over to her equipment, in a dark, baggy hoodie and tiny white Keds looking particularly intimidating, or at the least imposing. She looked like how her Hyperdub debut Pull My Hair Back feels—a steady flow of kinetically dynamic vocals and dance rhythms erratic with alluring trepidation. After her brief introductory number, Lanza took a few moments (which stretched to minutes), shifting gears for the next track. When she apologized to the crowd, her voice was meek and weary, a stark juxtaposition from the tenacious sexual force imbued on her first release. The audience was more than accepting of her modest persona, reciprocating her shyness with wild hoots and hollers of encouragement. It was the one and only obvious misstep of the night.
While performing, Lanza’s aura does feed into the provocative mythology that often surrounds her particular brand of turbulent, hush-toned R&B. But overall, her music sounds bigger, more open on stage, less faithful to all the heliocentric soundscapes and astral oddities adorned on Pull My Hair Back. Lanza sandwiched her set between two songs that do not appear on her debut: a collaboration with another electronic producer, and a new unreleased track that delved further into the terrestrial unknown with spiraling synths and roiling vocal hooks.
Her most frenetic number was As If, a tense build-up of electronic programming that soars to dizzying heights before floating back to a lethargic, hip-jerking groove. Jessy Lanza was at her most volatile state during the motivating catalyst, Keep Moving, her vocals working double time to parry all the syncopated madness jutting from her fingertips. After a brief departure from the stage, she returned for an encore performance with her salient album closer Strange Emotion.
Photos by Angel Eugenio Fraden.