Material: Disco Shrine released their debut EP Soft Fur as a synth-pop duo back in 2015. But when Tommy Nickerson departed from the group shortly thereafter, co-founder Jessica Delijani assumed the band’s name and became a solo artist. Since then she has reinvented herself with music that incorporates more elements of hip-hop and content that reflects upon her Iranian American heritage. That notion is depicted well in the song “Up In The Air,” her first single as a solo artist. The expressive style in Disco Shrine’s unique songwriting carries over to the live experience, making Delijani’s artistry comparable to Lorde and MØ.
Musicianship: During the early stages of Disco Shrine’s development, Delijani only released music from the synth-pop/indie electronica genre. Hence, spirited love songs like “Shy” and “Soft Fur” demonstrate a heavy use of polyphonic synthesizers and dance beats. She remains a fixture in the indie rock scene of Echo Park. But now her stagewear, music and live shows have clearly been impacted by her love of hip-hop. The most noticeable changes in her songwriting today are various trap rap components such as rhythmic snares and 808 drums.
Performance: As the image of Disco Shrine slowly began to emerge through the dim lights of The Echo, it provided a dramatic factor that seemed to engage the capacity crowd right away. Equipped with a laptop computer and accompanied by a percussionist (Jarad Kleinstein), Disco Shrine danced on stage as if she had a full band behind her. Her voice rang out in a tone similar to Charli XCX and Lauren Mayberry (from Chvrches). Disco Shrine increased the entertainment value of her live show with the addition of two back-up dancers midway through her nine song set. But the most noteworthy moment was a duet with rapper Omenihu. Their enthusiastic rendition of the R&B/electro-pop song “Everyday” raised the energy level of the entire room.
Summary: Disco Shrine’s show at The Echo was a solid display of her vision and how well she has transitioned from being part of an indie band. That became more evident when she utilized back-up dancers, a rapper and just one instrumentalist during this live performance. The combination of her DJ skills, along with her fluency on guitar and piano, would be a nice way for Delijani to further showcase her talent as a soloist in the future. It’s a balancing act that could help to build upon the momentum that she has generated for herself as a live performer.
Players: Jessica Delijani, vocals, programming; Jarad Kleinstein, drums