Sunday, May 6, 2012
Concert review: Sarah Jaffe, John Dufilho, and Zhora at Granada Theater (May 5)
This was Jaffe's first time to introduce her new style and sound to her hometown crowd, and it was an unconventional success.
With a new album just out and an impressive pair of local bands to open the night, Sarah Jaffe’s Saturday night show at the Granada Theater was destined for glory. The Body Wins (her sophomore album) came out on April 24 and is filled with bass-heavy, sexy numbers that are a far cry from the acoustic-driven folk tracks we’re used to. Jaffe introduced her new musical attitude to the Granada crowds with a little help from Dallas bands Zhora and John Dufilho.
Zhora is the new project from Taylor Rea (formerly of Ishi) that truly captures what electronic pop should sound like. The four-piece group uses one guitar, drums, and an array of digital effects and beats to make up their cool electro sounds. (Imagine if Zola Jesus turned down her vocals and turned up the beat.) Rea is still her bubbly, dance-happy self. She uncharacteristically pulled out an electric guitar for a tender cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” which captured the audience's eyes and ears.
Dufilho’s newest endeavor is a full-length album entitled John Singer Sergeant, which was written and performed by Dufilho but was sung by many of his friends. Those friends include Rhett Miller, Salim Nourallah, Jaffe, and Sir Earl Toon (of Kool and the Gang). Dufilho and his full band performed some of the songs solo and for the first time on Saturday, but most were accompanied by the original singers -- an added treat. Nourallah stepped out for a few tracks, as well as Jaffe, Spyche, and Toon, to make the set a full-fledged family affair with off-the-cuff jams.
One of DFW's most up-and-coming songstresses, Jaffe, stepped onstage with a soft smile and kind words on Saturday, as if she was in a room with a few friends. As she has done at former hometown concerts, she showed her appreciation to her fans. The set was as different as her latest album: Her signature violinist was replaced by a computer-tapping band member and her acoustic with a bass. While a few older numbers were peppered in (“Clementine” and “Vulnerable,” for example), Jaffe filled the night with her new highly textured, sexy songs that seemed unfamiliar to the audience.
Rea, Toon, and Dufilho stepped out to sing “Under” – a track from her 2011 EP – and flipped the quieted mood to a celebratory, clap-your-hands moment that can only be credited to Toon. His jovial approach to music and singing was infectious, igniting the crowd participation that was lacking before the song.
All together, Jaffe delivered another strong show that managed to captivate the audience even without singalongs. She whispered her vulnerable and sometimes biting words and hit the screaming vocals with a kicked-back head. Whether performing to a small coffee shop or a two-story theater like the Granada, Jaffe continues to make her audience crave more.
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