Even though Harriet Brown couldn’t attend as opener, Dallas local duo Secrecies filled in nicely. The two branched out on synth pop and demos to their native city and the crowd responded with a decent welcome for the night.
Occasionally the walk in and out of a figure in white jumpsuit, painted with black motifs and accompanying mask, was eerie but curious. In conclusion of the opener, a large plastic mat was laid out. The switch to a fan was turned on in cue with the backdrop video and music blaring. The crunch and bass of Geneva Jacuzzi prompted the beginning of one of the most intriguing performances for Deep Ellum this year perhaps.
Now in the inverse bodysuit version of the previous outfit, sat cross-legged in her bubble which consumed the stage and then creeped up. Her skulking performance piece paired with stark, retro imagery of music videos and explosive sounds from her latest album Technopehlia was exotic and a little horrifying. Songs like “I’m a TV” and “Ark of the Zombies” had the LA artist gnarling her teeth, peering out of the ball and shining a light onto the audience members. The involvement was strange and entertaining, but the tunes were so dense with sound it rocked the room. The distortion and thick thumps set the dark and hectic mood as Geneva sang into her headset mic, spiraling the audience in a hypnotic and chaotic trance. She pranced through the audience and back, bent and posed in sync with the beat and overall impressed Three Links for a memorable set.
Ramona Gonzalez, better known as Nite Jewel, came out on stage with blonde hair and sheer, striped pants. The relatively minimal setup of a couple synths and drum machine seemed conservative after the previous act, but that was quickly forgotten once Gonzalez took to the mic on her first song. The oscillating and smooth synth textures she’s so well known for played true over the system – she even thanked the sound guy for that. On “Had To Let Me Go,” we were reminded why love lost and heartbreak can be pleasant; the pastel yellow of her latest album Real High comes to mind as the gentle bounce of bass riffs and ambiently constructed synth tones waded in and out.
Nite Jewel’s output has been higher, more effective, and a little scaled back. The more crisp vocals on songs like “Boo Hoo,” “I Don’t Know” and “2 Good 2 Be True” prove her ability on a newer pop sound and less reliability on effects. Nite Jewel wanted to keep the audience lively and stuck to rhythmic tracks and even a funk song she constructed recently. The only significant deviation from this was a ballad cover of a Janet Jackson number *swoon* and then the awesome close out with “What Did He Say” from Good Evening.
“I remember the last time I was in Dallas,” Gonzalez said. “I thought back and I’m like ‘Dallas is cool’,” pointing figure matter-of-factly. The afterparty continued to a bar down Elm street – an all funk dance set – so you know Nite Jewel wanted everyone to come correct with the energy. ❤ you. Come back.
photos by Demir Candas