The Emancipator Ensemble and Little People played an intimate show for the Baralku North American Tour at Constellation Room in Santa Ana.
On March 14, Emancipator brought his ensemble to play a live set at Constellation Room in Santa Ana, California, for the Baralku North American tour. London-based artist Laurent Clerc, also known as Little People, opened the show and warmed up the crowd with downtempo electronic beats.
The Observatory has two rooms inside the venue: the main room and a smaller room, the Constellation Room. I don’t know why my brain didn’t make the connection that the Emancipator Ensemble and Little People would be in the smaller room. I found out that an artist named Lil Skies was performing in the main room that night, which explains the diverse mix of people I saw standing out front.
While the stage and room was a bit small, I felt that the size facilitated a beautiful and intimate experience for everyone.
Though I feel they should have had the main room for their performance, I’m starting to think maybe Emancipator enjoys and prefers intimate shows. For example, when I saw him at the Loci Records tour last year, it was also at a smaller venue, The Roxy in Los Angeles.
Doors opened at 8:00 PM and there were maybe about three to five people in the dark-lit room along with full bar service. The instruments and electronics were already set up on stage with blue and orange lights shining down on them. As I excitedly drank my $8 Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, the room began to fill up with more people. The vibe was pretty chill so far and everyone seemed to be friendly. I’m sure, like myself, everyone was excited about the show.
9:00 PM rolled around and Little People took the stage.
I was very excited to see Little People again after he took me on a journey during his set at Lightning In a Bottle 2015. Such an incredible moment that I’ll never forget! Despite some sound hiccups, he put on an amazing show playing a blend of his own tracks and other downtempo, hip-hop/chill beats similar to his Youth & Progress Pt. 2 DJ mix. Not only did he do live scratching, he also added live tambourine, xylophone, and percussion into his songs.
By the time the Emancipator Ensemble came on, the room was filled wall to wall.
Since I was also taking photos at the event, it became a little difficult to move around easily. The once nice and friendly people, in the beginning, became more annoyed when I was trying to navigate through the crowd.
The Ensemble played an incredible set. Though I’ve been following Emancipator for about ten years now, last year was my first time seeing his DJ set with his violinist, Lapa. This time, I got to see the five-piece band consisting of drums, synths, violin, electric guitar, electronic pads, Ableton, bass guitar, and what I believe was an electric cello.
They started off the show with “Baralku” off the Baralku album. A flute player also joined them toward the end of their set, and everyone worked seamlessly together vibing off the energy throughout the night. They played a good amount from that album as well as from previous ones, Dusk to Dawn and Soon It Will Be Cold Enough.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear smooth, liquid drum & bass beats mixed in with their set. I honestly have to say that made me fall in love with Emancipator even more. Drum & bass has a special place in my heart.
“We carve out parts of the show for improvisation. A lot of the parts that end up being incorporated into the songs later on come out of these improv spaces. We’ll play something live and decide, ‘That sounded great,’ so we start playing it like that at the next show.” – Emancipator
The Baralku tour is reaching its end now with only a few more shows. If they’re in your area, I highly recommend attending!
Remaining Baralku Tour Dates:
- 3/29 – Venue – Vancouver, Canada
- 3/30 – Showbox at the Market – Seattle, WA
- 3/31 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR