by E.P Pirt, Jr.
If you’re a fan of electronic, indie, R&B, jazz, or music in general, chances are Alina Baraz has popped up on your Spotify or Pandora at some point over the last year or two. That was how I discovered her and since the first moment I heard her sensual and soulful voice I made it a point to see her live. Yesterday I was finally awarded that opportunity, as I had the pleasure of catching her sold out show at the Bluebird Theater.
Donned in an elegant, long black dress with sashes draped over her arms, Alina took the stage with her three-piece band; a drummer, a keyboardist, and a guitarist who at times played another set of keys that looked reminiscent of a Moog synthesizer or something of the sort. They proceeded to crank out one smooth, sultry jam after another, the passion in the air palpable. In contrast to the slow nature of her songs, the group wasted no time in between them, as the whole set lasted no more than 45 minutes.
While another show of such length would likely leave many unsatisfied, I feel as though this one was an exception for a few reasons. For one, Alina is still fairly new to the scene and as such still has a relatively small, albeit very impressive catalogue. Secondly, she spent almost no time making small talk between tracks. While she shined in the limelight, she did not give off the impression that she was in love with it, unlike all too many artists these days. She didn’t seem hurried, but instead humble; people were there to see her perform, and that’s what she was focused on doing.
Her stage presence was calm, collected, classy, and sexy all at the same time. She gracefully floated around the stage, treating the audience to favorites like ‘Unfold’, ‘Can I’, ‘Make You Feel’, and of course for the encore, her hit ‘Fantasy’. While Alina herself was everything I had hoped she would be, it was the band that really pleasantly surprised me. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if she would be performing with a DJ, other singers, a small band, a large band, or what. It turned out to be a simple yet sufficient three piece outfit whose talent was the perfect compliment.
The drummer was on point all night as was the keyboardist who also served as a more-than-capable backup singer. Perhaps most impressive of all was the guitarist, who kept a more-or-less low profile behind Alina, but whose talents were plenty noticeable. He routinely switched back and forth between guitar and what I believe was a synthesizer, his musical versatility on display. Towards the end of the set the crowd got its guitar fix, as he came forward and delivered a goosebump-inducing solo.
Lastly, the visual production was on point. It was fairly conservative as you’d expect with the genre, but featured a cool wall of synchronized bulbs behind the band that gently shifted colors and accented the mood of the moment. I’m glad I got to see her in the intimate confines of the Bluebird cause I have a feeling the next one is gonna be a lot bigger.