English Singer-Songwriter Tirzah Kicks Off Long Weekend at Brooklyn Steel

English Singer-Songwriter Tirzah Kicks Off Long Weekend at Brooklyn Steel

May 30, 2022

Tirzah – Brooklyn Steel – May 27, 2022

Tirzah Mastin, who graced the stage at Brooklyn Steel on Friday night as Tirzah, is fairly expert at eluding genres. The London-based artist, whose latest record, Colourgrade, dropped last year, makes music that is at once singer-songwriter, experimental and soulful R&B. At one record store, I found her LPs under “electronic” — also clearly befitting.

Seeing her perform live, then, was to witness her weave together those influences in real time. On “Affection,” off Devotion (2018), Mastin and close collaborator Coby Sey sing about want and desire over a steady beat and slow piano scales. Onstage, Mastin enriches the spare track, crushing and crinkling a drum brush close to the microphone, producing a staticlike effect. Sey closed the song by holding a sheet of aluminum foil to the mic, letting the air bounce and tumble gently across it like a MacGuyver-ed cymbal. “Tectonic” (Colourgrade) was much doomier, Mastin’s lilting tones turning to monotone: “When you touch me, I’m out my body / Instinct takes place.” But on “Send Me,” off the same album, the feeling was intimate and soft. “Send me / Love me,” she pleaded, while Sey shredded his guitar to whoops and shouts from the crowd.

“Sink In,” an R&B-laced love song off Colourgrade, was the perfect vehicle for Mastin’s vocals. She was balletic, climbing up and down her register with ease. And the call-and-response chorus with Sey — “For that feeling / I am sinking” — is pure pop, catchy and singable. Tirzah is truly singular in her work, and her artistry is bone-deep. Steel was lucky to have her. —Rachel Brody | @RachelCBrody

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