Nicolas Jaar performs at Day for Night.
New Order, as good as they ever were.
New Order thrills the crowd at Day for Night.
My experience at Day for Night was literally that: I arrived late Saturday night to watch New Order headline the Red Stage, and returned the following day to take in Nicolas Jaar on the Green. The festival, winter counterpart to Free Press Summer Fest, seemed to be quite a success.
Perfectly framing downtown, the crisp setting demonstrated another reason people like Houston. Mild winter weather, a beautiful backdrop of the downtown skyline, and great music and art all show the progress Houston has made in the past 10 years in the fields of popular culture and art.
And along came New Order. The band, a favorite of every New Wave, synth-loving teen growing up in the ’80s, took the stage and put on a timeless performance. It was 24 Hour Party People minus the Ecstasy with full-on huge neon graphics moving to the sound of songs like “Bizarre Love Triangle.” New Order proved to be every bit as powerful today as they were in their heyday.
Another day, another jar? Nicolas Jaar, the next coming of something. Or maybe not. Uber talented and son of artist Alfredo Jaar, he put on a similarly spectacular exhibition of sonic fusion. His performance was a thing of beauty. Thumping beats set to a haunting backdrop moved everyone in attendance. Sadly, the only thing bigger than Jaar’s talent is the impressive size of his ego. Based on his time, or lack of it, for local media, one would imagine him to be Prince, Madonna and McCartney all rolled into one, rather than the immensely talented yet relatively obscure artist that he is. In spite of the prima donna attitude, we still love you, Nicolas.
Finally, I had a random encounter with Mr. Alexander Wang, who looked striking and was clearly enjoying the show. I leaned in to be sure it was him, and we spoke, but I am pretty sure neither knew what the other was saying: The music was loud! So I turned to his companion to ask if it was in fact the Wang. She said “No” without even turning to acknowledge me. It turns out that later the two of them were denied VIP lounge access, so it seems what comes around goes around.
Lesson of the day: Don’t let your ego get in your way. Lesson of the night: New Order was alright. OK, they were much, much better than that.