Sitting at the keys in the dark, he starts up. The drums, the sole accompaniment, join him. The lights don’t come on. 3 white panels at the back of the stage start to slowly omit a haze of deep pink. His silhouette is set against the bands of multi-coloured lights which follow the tempo of the music.
The song ends abruptly. The lights still don’t come on. And another song begins. The deep, morose sadness of ‘Pour Maman’ leads to a crescendo of Prince-like wails and electric guitar combination. The crowd loves it but the cries end quicker than the song started. The panels turn teal and we get a quick introduction and comment about being in the city for the first time.
“I only found out about this guy on Tuesday…” Oh. Back to the music. No time to think.
The interchanging solid strips of colour transform into moving images of graphic designs, hand drawn animation and filmed sequences. We get a better idea of what Gabriel Garzón-Montano looks like now, what with the projections moving over his face but it’s clear he’d rather let the music he’s presenting and the visuals around him take prominence.
It’s so nice to be entertained and inspired by someone that knows exactly what they’re doing. When a new artist comes along it’s not a given you will be presented with exactly that, in my experience.
The Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter, influenced by his French and Colombian heritage equally, is only an EP into his career at 25. It may have only been 40 minutes long but his live show was one of the most unique and assured that I’ve seen in a long time. It could have something to do with supporting Lenny Kravitz last year and this Spin article discovers how he has grown as an artist.
Sometimes I feel like I’m part of an experiment when an artist is making their first steps into performing live or showcasing new work. It can be obvious they’re testing songs, developing their connection with their audience and building confidence in their performance skills.
Logic would say a more experienced performer would be that person/band/group. When a relatively new artist like Garzón-Montano defies that, it makes it much more satisfying.