Chairlift Takes on the Big D with Special Guest Nite Jewel

Lying in the shadows of the "live music capital of the world", otherwise known as Austin, Dallas hasn't been considered much of a music Mecca. But don't make your judgments yet because this southern city in the heart of Texas has a lot of talent to offer.
Indie music is making a huge splash on the scene in venues like the Granada Theater, Palladium Ballroom and of course, Club Dada.

It’s been years since I’ve been to Club Dada let alone Deep Ellum and I was a little disappointed to see how desolate the area has become. The happening music scene of my youth has turned into a condo wasteland littered with a few nightclubs and readily available retail space. Thankfully there are still some good bands coming through the east side Dallas hangout, and Monday night was no exception with Nite Jewel and Chairlift on the bill.

Nite Jewel, led by LA singer/songwriter/music maker Ramona Gonzalez, opened the night to a sparse but attentive crowd. This was the first time I’d heard of the pintsize singer and overall I was pretty impressed. Decked out in high-waisted denim, light brown stockings and bare feet, her attention was quickly averted to the 70’s esque stage lighting that turned the entire room red. When her request to the turn the lights off was denied she refocused herself and launched into the music.
What I found most intriguing about Nite Jewel was her somewhat operatic, choir-like vocals intricately laced amongst the synth soaked music. There wasn’t anything particularly unique about her voice but the entire package, her look, presence, and contagious melodies made you want to get closer and closer to the stage.
Midway through the set a group of dance happy concert goers pushed their way to the front, livening up the room with their very own dance party. Nite Jewel finished off a strong set that had the entire crowd moving by the end. They definitely made a new fan out of me.
Now for my favorite part of the night - Indie darlings, Chairlift. I first saw the NYC based duo at SXSW in March and became an instant fan. The night’s intimate setting, opposed to the outdoor, festival like atmosphere of Stubbs BBQ in Austin, shed a completely different light on the band.
Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly are a dreamy combination, especially in the high quality game-show lighting (as Caroline so eloquently pointed out again) that bled through the venue. I for one didn’t mind it so much and was just ready for the music. Opening with a perfectly pitched scream sure enough to wake the entire block, they started with their current single and ode to Grand Theft Auto, Sidewalk Safari.

There’s no other way to describe front woman Polachek other than purely enchanting. Her calming demeanor and perfectly placed vocal quips is nothing short of captivating and the crowd was feeling it 1000%. Let’s also not forget, the woman has some serious dance moves (I've already stolen a few - don't judge). Polachek and crew seemed more than thrilled with the Dallas reception they were receiving, (until the Mavs tried to steal the show...more about that later) and even offered up a few hugs to some members of the audience.

The set list consisted mostly of tracks off their current release, Something, but definitely didn't disappoint long time fans. The intimate setting was a bit much during Planet Heath when two loud talkers on the front row distracted Caroline enough to call them out. They didn’t hear, she stumbled a bit, but as adorable as she is the crowd cheered her on and she pushed through.
Does You Inspire You, included a lovely mash-up of Bruises with the 80’s classic Melt With You. “This one’s for the girls” Polachek announced and the two fit so beautifully you’d think the songs were written for each other.

A few songs deep into the set it was obvious Patrick Wimberly was completely distracted. I thought it was his ploy to tackle stage fright...look above the audience. No, it turned out to be the Dallas Mavericks game in double overtime. The two giant TV's hovering over the bar were a bit too much for Patrick and he had no qualms letting the bartenders know.

"I never thought I would be watching TV during a gig. Can you turn those fucking things off?” Patrick requested, the bartender didn’t oblige and it wasn’t until Caroline threatened to stop playing that the TVs were turned off. Most of the crowd backed them up, screaming at the club staff to follow through with their request. But of course, there were some angry concert goers that would have rather watched the end of the game then make it to the encore. Twitter wars commenced.
Light problems and basketball games aside it was an incredible show. By far the moment of the night was during the encore when Polachek asked for the lights to be turned off and almost in a whisper seduced the crowd with Cool as a Fire (mostly lying down). The rolling drum beat and smooth keyboard effects filled the venue almost completely hushing the crowd. Then of course someone yelled for them to turn the lights on.....COME ON PEOPLE!!!

If I didn’t sound biased enough I definitely am now. You can officially sign me up as a Chairlift groupie. Caroline’s unique vocal placements and smooth tone mixed with Patrick’s amazing production on songs like “Met Before”, “Guilty as Charged” and “Amanamonesia” (and all of the rest of course) made for a VERY pleasant musical night in Dallas.

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