Alina Baraz captivates at El Club
Even well before Alina Baraz stepped on stage at El Club, the crowd that had gathered was a live wire. Packed from wall to wall, the dim lighting of the venue illuminated bright eyes and reflected off of animated faces; the energy in the room was palpable, with every person turned expectantly toward center stage in preparation for the main attraction herself.
When Alina Baraz finally appeared, yellow jacket and sweet smile subtly commanding attention, the crowd exploded, filling the air with delighted screams and shouts. Baraz smoothly transitioned into her opening song, “Show Me,” to an audience already glowing with vibrancy. It was the perfect beginning.
And Baraz did not disappoint. Never faltering throughout the entirety of the show, she executed every song, from dreamy “Pretty Thoughts” to dynamic “Drift,” with an effortless grace. Baraz looked like she was born to be on that stage, backlit by hazy lights and producing music that flowed and danced around the crowd. For just under an hour, she held our attention with alluring vocals and layered melodies dripping smooth sensuality like honey.
For a relatively up-and-coming artist, Alina Baraz’s absolute confidence and established stage presence was a welcome surprise. She filled the small venue but didn’t overpower it, producing a sense of intimacy that was only further accentuated by dim lighting and minimal extravagancy.
An artist of little words, Baraz said little throughout the night, preferring to let her music do most of the talking. Rather than distancing herself from the audience, the lack of repertoire helped build an atmosphere of quiet reverence and familiarity. Even in the very back of the crowd, I felt like Baraz was singing to solely me, making sure I lived through every beat of the song alongside of her.
However, the strongest element of Baraz’s performance, beyond even the music itself, was the dedication and appreciation apparent in every aspect of the show. From the way she handled every note with delicate care to the way she profusely thanked the crowd near the end of the show, Alina Baraz grounded the show in mutual respect and gratitude. It was a transcending experience to be a part of. By the time Baraz and her band members stepped offstage, not one person in the audience wanted to leave the magic behind; we immediately began shouting for an encore, to which Baraz happily complied.
Through her music, Alina Baraz made wildflowers grow from the concrete of El Club; beauty and poise intertwined themselves with dazzling harmonies to create a show that was almost fantastical. And if the two new songs Baraz played had anything to say about her future projects, there are only even more enchanting prospects ahead.