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Laraaji at National Sawdust- Brooklyn, NY

laraaji at National Sawdust

“Want to go to a show?” Of course, I do. Giggles texted me about a gig at a venue I’ve never heard of by an act I’ve never heard of. I get us tix and now we’re booked to see Laraaji in Brooklyn. Once the day comes I realize the show doesn’t start until 10:30 pm and I have a flight the next morning. The plan was to get food, browse Rough Trade and enjoy as much as we could with full permission to leave if it sucked.

The day of the show, all I know is what Giggles had told me, “It’s ambient music, he used to play with Brian Eno.” Well, that could be great. Eno is great, ambient could be good too; Relaxing at least. I’ve still not heard a single note of his music but learned Giggles hasn’t been to Williamsburg so I was excited to show her around. Either way, it would be a good night.

After a traffic filled drive to the BKLYN, we make way to a French pastry spot in time to see them close. No luck there. Better luck at Rough Trade where I found a used copy of Jim James’ solo album which I recommended to Giggles (review from her is pending). The highlight for me was getting to hear the super-anticipated Superorganism album which I love. Now off to dinner (can you sense I’m suspending the show conversation?).

National Sawdust is an interesting venue. It has the look of new Williamsburg (i.e. gentrified) but the indie lineup of the neighborhood roots. The main room is wide with a high ceiling and angular white geometry on the walls. Instead of a stage, there is a small riser blocked by the tallest people in town. We arrive just as Dallas Acid took the stage. Two synth players flanked a singer/ percussionist. Parts of the audience were already seated against the wall. We stood through the entire set but sat as we waited for Laraaji.

Dallas Acid was fine. Laraaji was as well but by the time he came on, we were exhausted. Ambient tunes are great but there is no spectacle to the show. Stoic synth players with zero affect, minimal movement from the singer (yes even when playing the two toms and gong), and no build to the music. The vibe did create an atmosphere of relaxation that was welcome. Giggles apologized profusely but it was a memorable night with a good friend and that is key.

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