Live Review: Nite Jewel

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Nite Jewel’s Ramona Gonzalez performs with the command of a seasoned professional, despite any obstacles that come her way. Headlining a show at the Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn in early November, the LA based group wasn’t given the stage till 11 pm. It was a Wednesday night and complaints of weariness were audible among the crowd.  Most of us, however, forgot about the time once this dynamic four-piece filled the room with sounds of fanciful and funky synth. There was also the recurring problem of a faulty mic cord that stifled the group’s progression, but Gonzalez remained unfazed throughout the set and connected to her orotund vocality.

The songstress’ in between moments were as endearing as her voice: She twirled her hair like an adolescent while displaying her predilection for sipping whisky.  Gazing at the floor, she intensely paced the stage in her blue pumps, whispering to herself, perhaps preparing for the next song.

The set was drawn heavily from a forthcoming album due for release in March on Secretly Canadian. It also included “Am I real,” the chimerically pensive title track from the 2010 EP, and “Weak for Me” from the debut, Good Evening (2008).  A marked shift in the group’s textured electronic aesthetic, clear and distinct vocals remained at the forefront of each song. It was even possible to decipher lyrics that are submerged beneath instrumental textures in their original recordings. Nite Jewel, it seems, has subordinated its celebrated layers of electro-sonic distortion to the lyrics, which are soulful and heady –with a twist of 80’s pop irony–and supported by Gonzalez’s rich vocal facility.  (Kelly Robbins)

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