Nick Hakim (photo: Ebru Yildiz)
Words by Mark Spero
On Wednesday, March 22, the Brick and Mortar Music Hall was sold out for Nick Hakim, a singer-songwriter out of New York whose debut drops May 19. People packed close to the stage for him and the openers, Norvis Junior and local High Sunn, and some fans even listened from outside the venue. It was a acceletic night of music, with a diverse and talented lineup capturing the crowd’s attention.
High Sunn had the first set. At only 17 years old, High Sunn is an incredible artist. His similarly young band play angsty dream pop, with High Sunn’s warbling guitar and his distinctive, quavering vocals creating a low-fi sound. He has been releasing music at an impressive rate for a few years now, and is incredibly put-together and cohesive for his age. High Sunn had an awkward yet endearing presence on stage, and the older crowd danced along and seemed amazed the music coming from such a young band. He has a new EP coming out in May entitled Hopeless Romantic.
Norvis Junior has been touring with Nick Hakim, and on Wednesday he took the stage with two tables covered in his computer, a MIDI keyboard, and numerous effects pedals. His music is hard to place, sometimes singing like D.R.A.M., sometimes rapping like Busdriver, and sometimes dancing to his Kaytranada-esque beats. His music has industrial qualities, and between songs he talks to the crowd in what is more like poems than small talk. The crowd was pulled in by his oddness and his skill, dancing and cheering with him. I honestly couldn’t tell what was tracked and what was played live, but the performance was enthralling. His heavily effected vocals ping-ponged around the room, and his philosophical discourses on life moved between lyric and just talking with the audience. Junior seems like a truly unique artist.
Nick Hakim and his band came out to a roaring crowd, immediately playing songs off his past two EPs, including “Cold.” His quavering guitar mixed with his vocals, which were at times thin and quiet and at other times a growl and a bellow. Hakim bounced around the stage, gyrating his head with the music. He seemed totally engrossed with the songs and the performance, trance like at times. Hakim has a spiritual sound all his own, which is similar to Moses Sumney or Gabriel-Garzon Montano. He played his recent single “Bet She Looks Like You,” and songs off his to-be-released debut album, Green Twins. Hakim gives a holy live performance, and though he has kept a low profile in the past, he seems destined for larger stages. He has an engaging stage presence and personal music, and I can’t wait to see what he has been making in the studio.