Jay Som at Baby's All Right
Jay Som sneaks out of her bedroom and onto the dancefloor
Was I looking forward to Jay Som’s show at Baby’s All Right? Sure. I guess. Maybe. The Bay Area’s latest indie rock darling, Melina Duterte, has been widely lauded for her full-length debut LP, Everybody Works, which she recorded solo and posted to Bandcamp before Polyvinyl caught wind and gave it a formal release.
Full disclosure: It was only while walking to the show that I realized I’d seen her six months earlier, opening for Mitski at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and forgotten about it altogether. This time Jay Som opened with a full band and a packed house, unlocking new sounds and finding new grooves that were absent from the hushed confessional I witnessed last June. The confidence that comes from releasing a terrific debut album and creating a small army of new fans in the process was front and center.
Jay Som kicked off the performance with a heavy bass slap and pulsing rhythm that set the stage for a sexy dance party, harkening Oliver Cheatham’s Get Down Saturday Night over the ‘dreamy’ or ‘shimmering’ bedroom pop to which she’s so often compared. Better yet, that opening song “Torn in Two,” ended with a long, anticipation-building pause before the drummer snapped to Anderson.Paak-esque double-time on the high-hat.
Who’s got the funk? Jay Som and her band, that’s who.
The tail end of the set was stacked with some of the bigger rockers from both Jay Som’s full-length releases starting with “SLOW” which was faithful to its upbeat and uptempo recording. The audience participation requested at the start of “The Bus Song” ginned up the crowd a notch higher. (A note to aspiring rock stars: to get a New York crowd in the game, tell ‘em Chicago was the loudest stop on tour.) The pizza rivalry-cum-superiority complex carried this Brooklyn audience through high-decibel renditions of “Baybee” and “1 Billion Dogs,” during which the technical strength of Duterte’s supporting musicians shone.
Co-headliners The Courtneys played first, and in their best moments they juxtapose breezy pop vocals with slack drumming, fuzzy guitars, and escalating basslines that earned their new album high marks among fans and critics.