Jarryd James Offers a Peak of What’s to Come at The Bowery Ballroom

August 11th, 2015

Jarryd James – The Bowery Ballroom – August 10, 2015

Mondays can be tricky for live music, and venues sometimes sit empty at the beginning of the week while everyone’s trying to reverse out of weekend mode. But last night’s crowd at The Bowery Ballroom had no intention of skipping out on the chance to see Jarryd James perform in New York City for the first time. James and his openers, Secret Weapons, coaxed their audience onto the dance floor with no problem at all. The Brooklyn-based indie pop duo is relatively brand new: The two friends, who met in high school, have been making music for a while now, but Secret Weapons have only been performing as a band for about a year. They zipped through a series of raucous, ’80s-inspired pop anthems including “Perfect World” and “Keep XX,” complete with a saxophone solo and guest vocals from a smattering of their friends.

James gingerly took the stage, clearly surprised by the size of the crowd. The Brisbane, Australia, singer-songwriter just began releasing music—which the indie blogosphere has positively fawned over—at the beginning of 2015. Although he’s been making music for more than a decade, refining his sound along the way. James’s two single releases, “Do You Remember” and “Give Me Something,” pair bold, booming instrumentals with gorgeously subdued R&B-tinged vocals. His lyrics deliver a wallop of desperation and defiance. He and his band put on an unerringly soulful show, awarding us a sneak peek of what’s to come. The set began light and slowly delved deeper into more poignant, somber tones. The aforementioned singles bookended the show, and new tunes flooded our ears for the remainder. James is scheduled to release his debut album in the U.S. next January. But he’ll also release an EP here in September, so we won’t have to wait too long to hear more of his disarming voice. —Schuyler Rooth | @SchuylerSpeak