Nadia Ali at Monarch Theatre, 5/26/12
Better than: dishing out hundreds of dollars to see Katy or Britney, only to find out there's no room to dance.
Thanks to Comicon, downtown was a great place to people watch last night. I spotted a rickshaw-driving Darth Vader, girls with cat ears, and guys unironically sporting mullets all rubbing elbows on Central. The dresses got shorter, the heels got taller, and acne seemed to magically disappear the closer one got to the clubs on Washington.
The long line of fashionable folks waiting to get in to Monarch Theatre could be seen from a distance. Though the club is about a month old, it celebrated its grand opening this weekend with Relentless Beats' new Saturday night dance party, welcoming EDM artist Nadia Ali into the opulent setting.
Last night provided a full roster of local house and trance talent, but Ali was without a doubt the highlight of the evening. The Libyan Grammy Award nominated songstress first made waves as the singer of iiO, where she wrote the mega hit "Rapture" in 2001.
She has since generated buzz in the world of EDM as "the Queen of Clubs," which proved to be a deserving title last night.
Unlike most EDM acts, she didn't hide herself away in a DJ booth, she was front and center--and she brought a microphone. Most electronic shows aren't that fun to watch (note, I said watch, not attend) since there isn't much going on, but Ali made it impossible not to stare. Her charismatic 45 minute set was a non-stop onslaught of great singing and perfectly timed choreography.
Her set included hits like "Feels So Good" and "This is Your Life." She closed with iiO's hit song "Rapture," stopping to ask the crowd to sing the chorus a capella. She appeared ecstatic to hear the audience loudly singing along. Ali didn't take any breaks or have an encore, DJ Tranzit immediately picked up the beats as soon as she exited the stage.
Although Ali already has a decade of work under her belt, it seems like she's on the cusp of becoming even more popular. Her mix of pop and house music is subtle but captivating, and her live vocal performance made set her apart from many EDM artists content to lurk in the background. If you've got it, flaunt it.
Last Night: Nadia Ali at Monarch Theatre.
Personal Bias: I'm really picky when it comes to EDM. If it doesn't sound like Justice, I probably won't like it, though I really enjoyed Nadia Ali.
The Crowd: Impeccably dressed.
Random Notebook Dump: To think I considered wearing five inch heels. Flats were a good idea.