Luke’s Alphabet Tour: N – Nite Jewel at London XOYO – 18th July 2012

By on Monday, 6th August 2012 at 2:00 pm

It’s the middle of the week and XOYO is pretty much empty. There’s the odd rogue gig-goer here and there but in the main is a desolate, dimly lit room with a smoke machine. This isn’t a negative comment toward the calibre of tonight’s headliners, but generally Londoners don’t arrive at venues until absolutely necessary – usually just in time for the bill-topper. Opening the show are the spectacularly harmonic Magic Eye who open proceedings with their ambient electronics, followed by Nicholas Krgovich‘s dreary one-man r ‘n’ b display that fails to rouse much excitement before tonight’s headliners.

Nite Jewel (the band Krgovich often samples for) drift onto the stage with an air of nonchalance and calm. The crowd has slowly grown throughout the evening but only now does it look anything resembling busy. The petite Ramona Gonzalez stands in front of her troupe, her rousing vocals every bit as powerful and operatic as Zola Jesus. The lo-fi, haunting indie has attracted a cult group of fans outside of their native America and London (especially this Shoreditch venue) heed the call.

The single ‘One Second of Love’ is laden with catchy harmonies that move the front rows, but Nite Jewel also fuse elements of post-punk, ’80s synth-pop and new wave to create their haunting sound. Unfortunately, there’s more to gripping music than taking influence and Nite Jewel struggle to truly resonate with tonight’s audience. Tracks ‘Another Horizon’ and ‘Into the Dark’ start the swaying with Kyla La Grange style downtempo whimsy, but Nite Jewel appear as nothing more than hipster bait that 99% of us probably aren’t cool enough to ‘get’. Instead what you do ‘get’ is a fairly standard showing from a band who should be capable creating more of an atmosphere to more people.

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