METROnome: When the Bay Area came to Phoenix: Jay Som, Stef Chura and Madeline Kenney at Valley Bar

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Touring bass guitarist Dylan Allard plays his guitar during a Jay Som concert at Valley Bar. (Lysandra Marquez/DD)

When Jay Som took the stage on Friday night at Valley Bar, the feel of the concert quickly went from a spectator-performer relationship to what felt like a casual hangout with cool and goofy friends.

Opening for Jay Som, Madeline Kenney and Stef Chura established a dreamy tone within the concert hall.

Jay Som, the stage moniker of California native Melina Duterte, performed songs from her first album, “Turn Into,” as well as her new album, “Everybody Works.”

After wrapping up a rendition of “Turn Into,” Duterte and the band started to jokingly play a Daft Punk song before ending the impromptu cover and easing into “Our Red Door,” a mellower tune.

One of the highlights of the night was the jazzy jungle groove, “One More Time, Please,” which got the audience moving and dancing.

It’s hard to describe Duterte’s voice without using the cliched ‘dreamy,’ but it seems most fitting, and her gentle croon is reminiscent of Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade’s softly sung melodies.

The energy from both Duterte and her bandmates remained playful and engaging throughout the night, infecting the audience who watched, swayed and danced. The band continued to joke with the audience, connecting with the intimately-sized crowd.

Teasing the audience with Enya’s iconic, “Only Time,” Duterte softly sang, “Who can say where the road goes” before asking if there were any Enya fans in the audience.

Wishful thinking that Duterte would finish the cover was quickly forgotten as the band began to play “The Bus Song,” which she dedicated to Enya. The audience sang along with Duterte, chiming in to shout “but I like the bus” during the verse.

Ending the night with “Lipstick Stains,” a song that felt like a blooming heavenly crescendo, Jay Som hypnotized the audience into a dreamlike state.

 

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