On a bitterly cold February night, the Paradise Rock Club felt like a refuge. Inside the hot Boston venue, a sell-out crowd eagerly awaited Darkside, the progressive dance outfit from the mind of electronic musician Nico Jaar.
Following opener High Water, Jaar and his cohort Dave Harrington took to the stage, donning all black. “Thank you for being here”, Jaar said simply before he struck into the opening riffs of “Freak Go Home”. The crowd lit up.
Despite their stripped down trappings, everything about Darkside’s live performance seemed bigger. Jaar’s baritone singing was full and impactful. Harrington’s finger tapping was whipped into an impressive frenzy. And that bass. Live, the bass was delightfully warm and massive.
There was fantastic interplay between Jaar and Harrington as they weaved through their catalog, playing off both each other and an energetic crowd. Grooves were extended. Drops became events. Even the ever-present cell phone photographers seemed to be mercifully kept to a minimum.
For a group that takes its name from the distant reaches of the moon, the show was fittingly ethereal. “Live scenography” by Children of the Light certainly sounds pretentious, but whoever was working the brilliant gleams and glows and flashes definitely added to the evening’s aura.
Leaving the club, a perfect third-quarter moon shone in the sky; half illuminated, half covered in shadow. It served as a well-placed symbol of the importance – and fun – of occasionally embracing the darkness.
The band now embarks on an ambitious world tour, in which many of the shows are already sold out.