Nite Jewel - XOYO, London 18/07/12
Before words of wonder cascade off the page - for Nite Jewel was indisputably and semi-surprisingly wonderful - both Upset the Rhythm and XOYO should be applauded for making such a shrewd booking and having such a dreamy sound system respectively. I instinctively am drawn to any shows put on by Upset - and when they pull out the big guns, they get it so right. Bravo.
With first support from Magic Eye a sweet shoe gaze four piece from Edinburgh, the proceedings were opened in a manner most fitting. They are possibly the shyest band ever, but their cover of Chris Isaac’s 'Wicked Game' is a whole new kind of sultry. They finished with heart melting tracks 'In the Know' and 'Visions of Babylon'. Ones to watch out for, to be sure.
Next up came a turn from Nicholas Krgovich - Nite Jewel's keyboard / sampler man – playing his solo penned numbers. With Mount Eerie also on his CV, it is small wonder that his stripped down r'n'b is utterly moving. Just one honey voiced man and his keys. Lush.
And so with audience fully lulled into submission, tiny Ramona Gonzalez, K Nite Jewel, hops on stage in what looks like a polka dotted pyjama suit. She is the definition of an indie sweetheart with a spritely spring in her step and ethereal quality to her voice that keeps the audience transfixed from the off. This is the first UK tour she's done with a full four piece band so we were intrigued to see how the new tracks sounded.
Born in Oakland, CA our now LA resident infuses California soul and an unmistakable upbeat energy into her electronica from the off, with the band opening with their extra sexy take on Frank Ocean's 'Thinkin Bout You'. The audience is graced with a gorgeous duet between Gonzalez and Nick Krogovich. It's the perfect combination and a pretty special moment.
She is the winning front woman, smart and sassy, you would not mess. She purrs "Hang on I'm gonna take this off. It's too hot" as she peels off an outer layer of clothing in the sweat box that is XOYO, the (mostly male – interestingly) crowd whistle. She laughs – "This is not meant to be sexy at all."
The anthemic single 'One Second of Love' is a power house of synths and heady bass, with a much fiercer live take. She sets precedent by dancing throughout the set and anyone who wasn't shaking a leg before sure as shit is now. Ramona the all singing all dancing vibe provider. She has an effortless bash on her keys in what looks like an afterthought. The band have it covered, all clearly so in the zone – with all three of them Stevie Wondering out, eyes closed and fully focused behind her, as she loses her shit, but never loses her cool. 'Into the Dark' gets yells from the crowd and is as haunting as expected. 'Another Horizon' is a synth funk jam which the band self-released in the US – Gonzalez congratulates any owners of this track smiling "If you have a copy you're special."
Her voice is ridiculously strong, mesmerizing and is really incomparable which is so refreshing. They end the gig with their brilliant cover of The Prophet's bass centric number 'Tonight'. Cue more dancing that results in sweaty, vaguely smelly punters being cast out on to the streets. Too bad it was the last date of their UK tour. You’ll have to wait 'til next time.