Last night French singer/beat maker Jain brought her tour to Chicago. She’s been playing across the US in support of her latest album, Souldier, which came out back in August. She performed alone, with a podium and a pedal for her digital sounds and loops. A projector played pleasant images behind her to go along with some of the songs, while her lighting rig lit up the stage in some amazing ways.
Her outfit was a bit like casual X-Men for the modern era. She had this gadget on her arm that I couldn’t figure out. About halfway through the show she explained that it’s a wireless device that controls all the instruments. She demonstrated it and seemed genuinely pleased that it worked.
Most impressive to me was when she built a song from nothing using loops. It was just after she played her first hit song, “Come,” that she stood at her podium and layered instruments that she played live on top of one another. Guitar, maracas, vocals…each one adding a new depth to the track. It was an impressive piece of music making that showed off her skills as an arranger.
Jain’s beats don’t quite fit into the mainstream pop music. She mixes her own cultural history with African and middle eastern percussion to make an interesting sound that’s all her own. She delivers it all with a great flare that’s necessary when you’re the only person on stage.
She only has a few US shows left, but definitely check her out if you can. Her music is streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, and you’ve probably already heard the song “Makeba” in that great commercial for Levi’s.