Who knew that so much energy could be contained in one room? Never had I seen such an artist act so genuinely and openly with her audience, nor have I seen a crowd give so much attention and chances for interaction to its performers. From towering wizards to a wave of paper hearts, Dora Jar’s performance at the DC9 Club on Saturday, November 5, was a monumental show for the club and an unforgettable night in the District.
The Friday show was sold out, and the venue was packed with an antsy crowd. Alternative punk-rock and R&B artist Sam Austins opened the night, meeting the audience with a presence that could not be contained to just the stage. ‘High energy’ does not fully describe the air about Austins; in fact, it undermines the control he had over his audience. Performing hits from his 2021 album HOMELESS STAR, such as “Kilos,” and his latest single “Matador,” Austins rallied the audience into cheers and primed them well for the headliner. Although he wasn’t the star of this night’s show, Austins proved he is another artist to keep an eye on as he continues to develop and expand his discography.
The way Dora Jar entered the room made you feel like you were the paparazzi fiending for a glimpse of some elusive celebrity; with “The Sound of Music” inaugurating her entrance, the headliner took to the stage guided by a bodyguard. Taking off her hat and overcoat, she came out of her disguise to a swooning audience. From her more gentle, soft rock ballads like “Garden” with its airy vocals and light instrumentals, to the more intense and experimental R&B and rock influenced “It’s Random” and “Multiply,” Dora Jar flaunted a trained command over her craft. Much of the setlist featured hits from her 2021 and 2022 EPs Digital Meadow and comfortably in pain respectively, as well as her latest single “Spell.”
Also notable from the show was the audience and its energy. Through her time as the opener on Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” world tour, Dora Jar expanded her already dedicated following. For just the second show of her own headlining tour, the level of preparedness the audience came with shocked me. Some members of the audience were dressed in full wizard garb in reference to her song “Wizard”. Another fan passed out paper hearts, reading “Our luv 4 you is a lagoon”—a reference to “Lagoon,” a requiem for unrequited love and unrealized affections. The flattery from the audience moved the performer, and the synergy enhanced the experience for all attendees regardless of how familiar they were with the artist and her discography. Together, Sam Austins and Dora Jar delivered an unforgettable performance at the DC9 Club that left the audience buzzing and eager for more. Dora Jar is an artist to keep your eye on as her style matures and her audience grows.