I wish I could remember what I was doing the exact moment I stumbled upon Dora Jar‘s music last year, but whatever I was doing doesn’t matter, because I still remember the feeling I got when I first heard it. It was along the lines of ‘Who was this girl and why wasn’t she the biggest artist of the year?’
Fast forward to August 2021, just a few months after Dora’s EP Digital Meadow was released, and the biggest pop star on the face of the earth announced she was taking Dora Jar on tour with her in Australia and New Zealand. I guess the secret was out from there!
As you can guess, Dora’s fan base grew exponentially quickly and exorbitantly after this opportunity: and it’s incredibly well-deserved. Thanks to this exposure to a whole new area of fans, Dora was able to get her music out to a larger audience, eventually leading her to embark on her first ever headlining tour this year, stopping at iconic venues like Bowery Ballroom in New York City and selling out Troubadour in Los Angeles during her last show of the tour.
This is where I come in. After knowing about Dora’s music for just about a year and a half when she was heading to LA, I was not going to miss my chance to see her perform live, especially at a venue so well-known for hosting performances from some of the most historic artists in the world.
Beginning promptly at 9:00PM (one of my simple pleasures in life is shows that start on time), Dora’s one-hour long set weaved nearly her entire discography together into a chaotically-wrapped gift of adventure, curiosity, and what seemed to be a trip into the solar system to a planet that was uniquely and entirely her own.
Starting the set with “Opening,” the song that also starts Digital Meadow off was an obvious choice, but that didn’t make it any less effective. With lyrics about “going boom” and entering a portal “as it’s closing” felt like a metaphor for the journey we were about to embark on together: one that feels entirely familiar and welcoming yet simultaneously unlike anything else ever experienced. This is exactly how I’d describe witnessing a performance from Dora Jar: between songs, she’s so down-to-earth, quiet, and downright goofy. She’s soft-spoken, neutral, and nurturing to the audience. Then as quickly as the moment comes, she’s back to performing.
While the tempos of Jar’s discography fluctuates from fast to slow, the energy that she brings to each song is steady. She seems very much at home utilizing the space around her to her full advantage: whether that’s going from end to end onstage and interacting with audience members in every crevice of the venue, climbing on stage structures, or kneeling on the speakers to serenade face-to-face. But this doesn’t mean she’s not killer when she opts for a ballad with an acoustic guitar: both methods are as equally as effective.
If you’re ever looking for a way to gauge whether or not you can connect with a performance, ask yourself if it feels like they’re leaving their blood and guts on the stage for the last time in their entire life. It will help you, I promise. And by that metric, Dora may as well left her body to transcend to the heavens above.
My favorite moments included performances of “Tiger Face,” “Bump,” “Garden,” “Multiply,” and of course: “Polly.”
Follow Dora on Spotify here.