Scenes From Saturday Night's Sarah Jaffe, Zhora and Sam Lao Show at the Granada Theater.
At 4 o'clock last Friday afternoon, the Granada Theater announced that it had but 100 tickets remaining for its Saturday night showcase of performances from Sarah Jaffe, Zhora and Sam Lao.
By the time doors opened some 30 hours later, the show had long established itself as a sell-out.
And, to be sure, this trinity of Dallas-based singer-songwriters made for a dynamic bill. But, even despite the beautiful diversity between those in the line-up, one thing was noticeably similar about this trio: These three artists are strong female leads in the Dallas music scene.
In fact, most everything about this event — from the on-stage art installation from The Color Condition to the performing artists themselves — was entirely put on by collaborating, Dallas-based female artists.
Although that may have at first seemed to be little more than coincidence, it proved to be a topic that the artists wanted to visually express at this show. In the hallway leading into the Granada's venue floor, large black and white images of notable female artists, actors and musicians were projected onto the floor. It was readily apparent: The women performing on this bill were proud to be taking the stage together and to further the notoriety for females in the entertainment industry.
They did that with relative ease: The showmanship boasted by Jaffe, Zhora and Lao each has long been noted around these parts.
Even after just about five months behind the mic, Lao quickly established herself as a head-turner once she teamed up with Dallas' Brain Gang crew. Her career as a vocalist and rapper has taken off almost ridiculously; she's become a staple opening act and festival performer around town in recent months. And, as patrons continued to pour into the Granada on Saturday, they were pulled in closer and closer to the stage by Lao's lyricism and confident on-stage capabilities.
Zhora's Taylor Rea followed, joined by former Neon Indian guitarist Ronnie Heart on guitar, and she too enchanted listeners. Zhora has been deeply rooted in the Dallas music scene for a few years now, so little of this was surprising. But perhaps this was: Toward the end of Zhora's dance-inducing, bass-heavy pop set A.D.d+ rapper Slim Gravy joined the band on stage, further exemplifying the warm, unified state of the Dallas music scene.
Indeed, artistic visionaries in Dallas are making names for themselves these days — and none moreso than this night's headliner, Sarah Jaffe.
Repeatedly, she thanked her crowd for its support (“I truly love you guys,” she said more than once) and, on this night, it was apparent that supporters from various stages of Jaffe's continued musical exploration were all represented in the crowd. Under-agers, parental-like VIP seat-takers, the mid-20s drinking crowd were all present — and showing all sorts of love. Sure, things have escalated a bit since Jaffe's days of playing patio shows at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton or open mics at Club Dada in Deep Ellum, but Jaffe remains a compelling performer, having at this point in her career become rather adept at bantering with her crowd and making sure they felt appreciated. All night long, Jaffe stuck with her dry wit, joking around with the audience at almost every song break.
She similarly made sure her fellow acts on the bill felt the love: During Jaffe's encore, Rea and Lao joined Jaffe on stage for perform The Who's “Eminence Front,” and all three artists' individual styles worked rather marvelously together, actually.
Humility, it seems, is a powerful thing. And each of these acts doled that out in spades on Saturday.
The audience, in turn, was more than receptive. Even after a second Jaffe encore, the audience stood still, hoping for more until the lowering of the Granada stage screen signaled the formal end of the evening.
It was a beautiful display — and proof positive that there's strength in numbers.