Wowzers. Great Scott. Holy Guacamole. All of these interjections could describe the show at Webster Hall Wednesday night, yet they barely would scratch the surface of the magnitude of awesomeness that Brothertiger and Jr Jr provided. The enormous ballroom was hazy with incense from the start (although they must’ve had a smoke machine too), and as ghostly stagelights pierced the fog above the crowd, Brothertiger took the stage.
Much of the crowd was unprepared for Brothertiger’s entrance, still busy ordering drinks or leaning against the far wall, but his hypnotic rhythms and angelic vocals quickly got their attention. The Brooklyn based solo artist seemed at ease in Manhattan, deftly engaging the growing crowd at his feet. While his original songs were sublime, the highlight of the set was a spellbinding rendition of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place.” With most of the crowd familiar with the song, it was a truly magical moment for everyone.
And then Jr Jr took the stage and blew everybody’s minds. From the moment stagehands unveiled the giant “JR JR” light up set-piece behind the stage, it was clear that the performance would be epic. They did not disappoint. Passionate energy filled the cavernous hall, as upbeat indie/electronic pop saturated the room. The Detroit foursome had the audience at hello, and continued their captivation throughout the night. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Zott’s insane hairdo contrasted nicely with other singer/multi-instrumentalist Joshua Epstein’s more subdued personality, although both of their energies were electric and contagious.
One recurring characteristic of their music is the use of some sort of vocal layering machine. Their song “James Dean” is a great example of the technique, but many of their songs made use of the technology, leading to a very thick, satisfying upper register. Contrast that with their well executed rhythm and bass sections (at one point Zott was going ham on a drum pad–it was awesome) and you’ve got yourself something special. You could even call it magical, if you were so inclined.
Jr Jr ended their set with a generous four song encore. The band came back out wearing these unbelievable matching jackets that glowed neon under overhead blacklights. As a pair of bubble machine pumped their little bubbly hearts out, the group went absolutely wild dancing in front of the enormous flashing JR JR lights behind them, much to the excitement of the audience. Jr Jr continues their tour this week, ending in Chicago on Saturday, and if you have the chance to see them you really should take it. They are magical.