Atahra : Brooklyn True School
There are shows in Brooklyn and then there are Brooklyn shows. Atahra’s recent spot at The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg turned out to be both. On a night where the lifetime “Borough of Kings” singer songwriter headlined with a handful of alt rock sluggers including Doobie and The Dayz, the crowd seemed primed for her more measured delivery.
For about half a song, they were rewarded with just that, as right after Atahra’s set began, a loud piercing metallic sound rang out of the speakers and the sound system shut down. The venue’s sound crew scratched their heads and nobody seemed to be able to find a way to rectify the problem.
This is where the “Brooklyn” in this Brooklyn product came out. It’s all about composure. After waiting for the crew to try and get the sound back on line, her drummer, Avi Jacob and onstage collaborator Chia Minaya, suggested they perform the material acapella. While this seemed like a good idea and a composed Atahra was able to find a work-around, the backing track came thundering up. She announced to the crowd, “Let’s do this!” , not knowing if it would work or not. A lesser performer might have folded under the stress and uncertainty, but Atahra opted to come back twice as hard.
Atahra rolled out most of the songs from her recent Cognition album, keeping her motions in a tight radius. With the front of the stage still creating feedback, she nonetheless found power in her vocal delivery. A blistering version of “Euphoria” got feet moving and the wistful “Why Can’t I Stop” slowed it down softly. Her signature song, “American Gangster”, reflected the precision of a cut diamond. In each new song, it was clear that her confidence could override any technicalities and she created a memorable performance in the process. Sound the bell, newbies ! “True School” is in session and Atahra is driving the bus!