The album release show for “Front Matter,” an album by local artist Millaze, sparked dancing in many forms at The Bishop Bar on March 26.
Even her mic check sounded dreamy. A symbolic map of significant areas that Emily Plazek, known as Millaze, had created hung behind her.
“I am Millaze,” she said to the audience. “Welcome to Oakland.”
Every member of the audience gave her their direct attention, with some sitting in the back and some standing closer to the stage. Their eyes were on her as they began to dance.
Taylor Zartman, who met Millaze through the Bloomington music community, said “Front Matter” is some of Millaze’s finest work. Zartman said the album is lyrically and musically compelling.
“The girl has concepts,” Zartman said. “She’s got hella concepts, and this album really celebrates that. I think it is just gripping to listen to from beginning to end.”
Two women joined hands and spun each other around as they threw their hands up in the air and sang along with Millaze. The crowd erupted after each song with whoops and cheers.
Talking at the show, Millaze said her music would scoop up the crowd and take them to a factory in the clouds. The songs included sounds from factories. She told the audience that she grew up in woodshops and worked at a steel factory, and, since she loved being in those places, she wanted to create an album about them.
The album, “Front Matter,” is based on the pages that precede the text of a book, and it is the third album in a deconstructed book series. She said she had been writing these songs since she was a child.
Millaze explained that one song, “Projection Room / Gutter,” was a story about meeting someone in a projection room of a movie theater. She sang in short and fast words, quickly letting her feelings out.
Hunter Nico McKenzie, Millaze’s supporting guitarist, was electric as he performed next to her. Their pride in each other’s performances was evident in their smiles as the other was playing.
Millaze said one of her songs was about what someone can’t say but needed to.
During a few songs, Millaze brought her hands up to the microphone and snapped on the beat and the audience joined in. Three audience members joined together and swayed back and forth as Millaze’s soft voice soothed the crowd.
After Millaze’s performance, Matixando, a Costa Rican band in Bloomington, celebrated the release of “Front Matter.” Millaze sat with her husband and friends to enjoy the music.