Show Review: Nite Jewel and Cole MGN with J Nadya
@ The Ace Hotel rooftop bar in downtown Los Angeles, CA.
I go back like 5 or 6 years with Nite Jewel, since the second golden age of this blog back in 2010-2011. Now, my girlfriend is managing her husband, Cole MGN. Cole was performing in his new project with singer J. Nadya. This was the live debut of this particular combination of Cole MGN and J. Nadya, which still lacks a "band name." It was also the first live show for Nite Jewel in some time. I haven't seen her live since 2011. I think Nite Jewel put out a great record but it didn't sell very well and she didn't tour very much (at all?) behind it and... the record came out in 2012. I think it's great when artists can afford to take that much time off, but there is a clear conflict between that type of timeline and the the type of timeline required to gain a maximum audience for one's music product.
Nite Jewel's new jams were solid. I'd imagine that the next LP is partially completed at this point. It could still be released in the last part of 2016 if it gets finished in the next few months. She is now performing as a two piece with another woman. They both play keyboards and sing and then there are pre programmed tracks. Her voice was strong and it reminded me of the potential that people saw in her work as early as 2009, when she was a part of the LA Times Best Coast/Dum Dum Girls/Pearl Harbor/Nite Jewel entertainment section feature. She's working in a space, that of the "indie dance queen" that has a real audience, both critical and popular, but she's never had the dynamic live show that you see from the category winners in this artistic space.
Cole MGN and J Nadya was a "whoah this could be huge" type of experience. First of all, J. Natya sings in a kind of doo wop falsetto that has the kind of quality that can take you all the way to the billboard pop chart, a la I Love Makonnen. J. Nadya simply sang, and Cole MGN played keyboards, triggered the pre programmed tracks and sang backing vocals into a vocoder.
One of the songs actually reminded me of Dirty Beaches "True Blue" jam in the way that it reached all the way back from the present to fifties era popular music styles. The crowd included many people I identified as members of the "downtown los angeles" scene. I think it's a pretty beats driven scene with artists like Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus and the Odd Future gang serving as artistic icons.
The roof top bar at the Ace Hotel is not completely unpalatable on a Sunday night, but it was crowded and most everyone seemed to be there for the music. The Ace Hotel rooftop bar has at least three distinct areas, the entrance/patio, the covered bar service area, and the pool area past the covered bar service area, so you could be in that portion of the bar and not even know there was live music in the entrance/patio.