Jagwar Ma Bring Summer Early to Williamsburg

December 3rd, 2013

Jagwar Ma – Rough Trade NYC – December 2, 2013

Photo courtesy of Jagwar Ma’s Facebook

Gabriel Winterfield and Jono Ma, the Aussie duo known as Jagwar Ma, create the kind of summery dance beats that would probably be more appropriate for the current summer season in their homeland. Their debut full-length, Howlin, reminds me of makeshift parties in the ’90s when friends would dance in garages as a lone disco ball glittered against the distressed interior. Bringing summer to the newly minted Rough Trade NYC outpost in Williamsburg, the boys from Down Under hit the stage with a slow burn.

Ma stepped up first to assume his spot behind the boards, creating the beats over which Winterfield crooned “What Love.”  Honorary member Jack Freeman joined the party, adding throbbing basslines on “Uncertainty.” Quickly dispatching tracks “Man I Need” and “Exercise,” there was no break between songs as the party raged on. White balloons bounced around the room and even made their way onto the stage. Freeman quickly kicked off the first one during “Let Her Go,” and Ma didn’t miss a beat as one of the rubber intruders hit his tables.

The crowd erupted in dance and bounced to “Come Save Me.” The synth-heavy “Four” highlighted Ma’s production prowess, which has been known to offer inspiration to bands like Foals. (The band’s namesake even produced music for films prior to forming his musical partnership with Winterfield. There’s no doubt Ma quietly provides the backbone to the band, as Winterfield takes center stage.) Soon the euphoria levels rose high for “The Throw,” and the set concluded without an encore. Despite that, attendees left happily into the night. —Sharlene Chiu

(Tonight’s Jagwar Ma show at The Bowery Ballroom is sold out.)