Róisín Murphy at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night. Photo: Zachary Filkoff

The Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (BEMF) kicked off on Friday, and over at Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 N. 6th St.), Róisín Murphy got things started off right with the debut show in her first American tour since 2007, when the Irish singer-songwriter’s second album, Overpowered, was released. From the moment she stepped foot on stage, bedecked in one of the night’s myriad, fantastic costumes, Murphy and her band dazzled and delighted the adoring audience.

I would call the show a nonstop spectacle, but that would seem to diminish the integrity of the music—the pure quality of that infectious beat and Murphy’s vocals, impressively both lyric and percussive. Certainly, the intimate venue and the fact that Murphy changed costumes right on stage during a song or while transitioning from one to the next kept that feeling of authenticity at the forefront. The theatrical production added to, and never took away from, the musical performance.

One of Róisín Murphy’s many costume changes. Photo: Zachary Filkoff

Whether leading off with new songs like Mastermind (the first track from her latest album, Take Her Up to Monto) or intertwining the 1999 hit Sing It Back (originally released by Murphy’s first professional project, Moloko; later remixed by DJ Boris Dlugosh) with the entrancing Exploitation from her 2007 sophomore album, the crowd sang along and danced its heart out for “Queen Róisín.” The love between performer and audience was palpable that Friday night in north Brooklyn as Murphy gave her all and so did her fans.

BEMF continuing tonight through November 13th, highlighting talent that is based in or deeply connected to Brooklyn in a series of shows, after parties and panel discussions. In addition to Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 N. 6th St.), official venues include: Good Room (98 Meserole Ave.), Output (74 Wythe Ave.) and Trans-Pecos (915 Wyckoff Ave.).

A full listing of artists and events can be found on BEMF’s website. Tickets to individual events will be sold in small quantities (advanced purchase highly recommended), but, much as I found to be the case with Brooklyn’s Northside Festival this summer, BEMF is designed so that festival-goers can experience an array of events and venues on one festival pass—interacting with other festival-goers along the way and sharing in that special Brooklyn vibe that is the reason why BEMF has made Williamsburg home.


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