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Shy Girls @ Teragram Ballroom 1/28/17. Shot by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Shy Girls @ Teragram Ballroom 1/28/17. Shot by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

Ever since the release of his first EP, “Timeshare” (2013), I have been patiently waiting for Dan Vidmar, p/k/a “Shy Girls”, to release his first proper full length album. It may have taken 3 years, but last month Shy Girls released his debut album, “Salt”. After hearing many of the tracks performed live at the Teragram Ballroom 1/28/17, I can say that the wait was well worth it.

Shy Girls @ Teragram Ballroom 1/28/17. Setlist.If you are a fan of smartly produced, seductive electronic R&B, you will be a fan of “Salt”. Its production is warmly intimate, and with Vidmar’s deceptively tender voice cooing the deeply personal lyrics of each composition, you will no doubt fall deep into the romantic ruminations of a soul that has clearly been weather by life’s journey. To see Vidmar and company bring that vulnerability to life on stage only heightens the emotional power of the music.

With the house lights generally illuminating the stage in dark blue and purple hues, the weight of the music’s gravity was visually palpable. As musical moments crescendoed to an instrumental flourish or a burst of intense drumming, flashes of light would emphasize that moment. The aural and visual textures of the live performance was, in this instance, choreographed perfectly adding to the emotional pull of the music.

Though it’s been several years since I’ve seen Vidmar perform live, I can confidently say that he has elevated the intensity of his performance tenfold. Each of Vidmar’s movements on stage felt dramatically deliberate. He didn’t move all that much, but when he did, you noticed and it always felt like it served a purpose. Whether he was clutching the microphone with both hands as he sang, clasping the mic stand with open palms as if he was in prayer, or turning his back to the audience and walking into the darkness of the stage as the rest of the band played through musical progressions, it was those subtle movement’s that added a romantic gravity to the performance.

There was one particular moment of the performance that really blew me away; a moment that literally gave me chills down my spine. It was the performance of Brandy’s “Sittin’ In My Room” prior to the encores.

Now, I had heard Shy Girl’s studio recording of this song before on Soundcloud, but Dan and company took their version of this song to a whole other level live. I wish I had a little clip of it to show you, but I was honestly so in awe during the performance, I just stood there and watched. As Dan stood center stage, with the lights dimmed low, he whispered the first verse with his eyes closed. I want to say that they slowed the tempo down from their own recording, as the mood felt distinctly more heartbroken than I had remembered it.  As Dan hit the chorus for the first time, the intensity in his voice elevated but then immediately decrescendoed back into second verse. This cycle repeated through the third verse, and as he sang the chorus through its final pass, the intensity kept on bubbling as he repeated the yearning hook over and over again … It was cathartic in the most heartbreaking way, and when he stopped singing, the lights that were on him dimmed, as the music faded out and he left the stage.

In that moment, taking someone else’s song and making it their own, causing me, a 40 year old man, to basically become an emotionally vulnerable wreck for that ephemeral moment … well … yup … Shy Girls is definitely worth seeing live.

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