Show Review: Jai Wolf captures Phoenix with spellbinding show
Downtown Phoenix really embraced the vibes Thursday night when Jai Wolf’s Cure To Loneliness Tour lit up the Van Buren.
As something of a genre bender himself, Wolf brought producer/songwriter Midoca and up-and-comer Giraffage to showcase different electronic styles that all complemented each other for seamless transitions throughout the night.
Midoca opened the show with a multi-instrumental soundscape, switching between keyboard and guitar while dark beats and eerie vocals rounded out each track. The set laid the foundation, a slow burn for the upcoming artists, while fans trickled into the venue.
During one of his few breaks, Midoca introduced himself and a new song that he wrote a few weeks ago—and it marked the turning point for the set. Right after, he performed Getter’s “Release,” on which he does vocals. And then he turned up the intensity.
By then the kids had arrived and were ready to shuffle. Flaunting their new EDC gear, they spread out across the floor and made it a sea of pashminas, fanny packs, and light refracting glasses.
Giraffage wasted no time with starting his mix. No introduction, no greeting, and no extraneous stage production. Color changing lights and his MacBook were all he needed.
As the mix flowed from track to track (everything from “Gas Pedal” to “A Thousand Miles”) the edge of the venue was the place to be as groups began to shuffle happily with all their friends. And from the center of the floor, shouts of “OHHH!” erupted during the best transitions. Ever stoic, Giraffage still brought the hype and dropped banger after banger.
The crowd was also pleased with the house music between sets that featured Flume, Kid Cudi, and Fall Out Boy. Like the sets from each artist, the variety is what kept things interesting.
The stage production went from minimal to maxed out while the venue went dark, and like a magical being, Jai Wolf appeared: a silhouette against blinding light.
Wolf is on tour promoting his latest album, The Cure to Loneliness, but he pulled from his extensive catalog of originals and remixes for a set that was like magic. He cast a spell over the crowd, and they were loving every minute of it.
The screen behind Wolf held everyone’s attention as it became a kaleidoscope of color and patterns with intermittent movie clips. As each track built up and then dropped, the stage seemed to explode—and then lasers shot out from above. Needless to say, The Van Buren got to show off its capabilities.
Shoulder sitting, dancing, and sing-alongs were the move, except for encore tracks “Starlight” and “Indian Summer,” the two that helped Wolf garner attention a few years ago and remain his most popular. For those last minutes, the shuffling and head banging slowed to a gentle sway as the crowd became a sea of phone lights and video screens.
The trance held until the room went quiet, and the crowd dispersed still in awe. It was because of them that Jai Wolf added a Phoenix stop to his tour, (which is one of the few things he said on stage) and he did not disappoint. He proved that whatever you came with, loneliness or otherwise, the cure is a night of music and friendship.
Story and photos by Taylor Gilliam