Blu DeTiger excels at Music Hall of Williamsburg

A former NYU student’s first headline show energizes and stuns.

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Yas Akdag

Blu DeTiger performs songs from her latest EP, “How Did We Get Here?” at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. DeTiger is a DJ, bass player, and NYU-student-on-leave, and energized the crowd with renditions of her popular songs. (Staff Photo by Yas Akdag)

By Yas Akdag, Music Editor

“Blu, Blu, Blu, Blu, Blu!” the crowd chants, eager for the blue-bass-toting musician to hop onstage. Their wish will soon be granted, as blue lasers flicker across the room and her band runs to their instruments. Dazzling in a silver-sequined bodysuit, Blu DeTiger follows them onstage with an enthusiasm that few performers match.

Her real name is, in fact, Blu DeTiger. She was born and raised in New York City to a family of creatives: her father is a visual artist, while her brother plays the drums, collaborating and performing with DeTiger. She picked up the bass — her signature instrument — at seven years old, playing in bands throughout middle school and high school. But things really started changing when she began to DJ at 17 years old. Unlike most DJs, DeTiger would pull out her bass while spinning sets, establishing herself as a ubiquitous feature of the New York City club and DJ scene. 

DeTiger briefly studied at NYU: first at Gallatin, before transferring to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. However, her grind never stopped. She continued to DJ several nights a week and kept working on her own music. Before long, she took a semester off from NYU to pursue a touring opportunity with The Knocks, an electronic music duo. That semester has seemingly extended for some time now. 

DeTiger’s background as a bass player and DJ is integral to her success; it means she focuses on creating a vibe. Through her warm, funk-inspired production, she urges the listener to dance with zero inhibition. This danceable atmosphere certainly translates to her concerts. As she darts across the stage, flipping her hair back and forth, DeTiger somehow still manages to play infectious riffs. In doing so, she proves that her captivating stage presence is as indisputable as her bass skills. While soloing on her song “Vintage,” DeTiger bends down, sitting her thighs on her calves in that classic guitar player position. Once again, her engaging performances are never at the expense of the music. 

The artist kicked off the show with “Cotton Candy Lemonade,” one of the songs off her latest EP, “How Did We Get Here?” It was the ideal introduction: upbeat, but not adored enough that it deserved a place at the end of the setlist. “Turn the speaker on, play the song,” she sings. The crowd roars in response — that’s exactly what they want from her, and she delivers.

During the one hour set, DeTiger runs through the seven-track EP and plays a new, Netflix-commissioned song, as well as two unreleased tracks. She takes moments to explain who she is as a person and an artist, how Netflix approached her for a rock song for their movie, “He’s All That,” how she’s grateful for everybody showing up, and being able to show up, tonight.

When she performs the rock song, “Go Bad,” the lighting suddenly switches to bright red before the band and her start shredding. It was fun to experience her playing in a different style — she’s unequivocally talented enough that she can — and she was visibly enjoying it too. There is no doubt that DeTiger’s disco-funk-pop sound is what makes her Blu DeTiger, but sometimes a little change is welcome.

Before abruptly running off stage, prompting the audience to beckon the encore, DeTiger performed “Figure It Out,” the single that launched her career. Released on April 17, 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, the song gained traction on TikTok. DeTiger had been active on the app back then, thanks to an abundance of free time. As of today, she has 1 million followers on the platform. Her TikTok presence must be noted — while waiting in line, one concertgoer asked another, “Are you here for the music or because of TikTok?” Regardless of the answer, when DeTiger started performing “Figure It Out,” the entire audience fervently sang along, bopping their heads to the groovy bassline and beat.

If this was a strong and energetic response from the audience, then the reaction to “Vintage” was on a whole other level. This was the last song on DeTiger’s set, and as soon as she began to play its distinct bassline, the crowd erupted. “Dirty sneakers and a motorcycle jacket!” they screamed, as a bemused and grateful DeTiger continued to sing and play. “Vintage” received the most engagement from the audience and it was the perfect song to cap off the night. As the house lights turned on, it certainly felt like DeTiger had ended on a high. It seems DeTiger thought so too; after the concert, she posted on her Instagram story, “Best night ever holy shit,” followed by, “My neck is so sore from so many hair flips last night.”

Let’s hope she gets in touch with a chiropractor before her next show.

Contact Yas Akdag at [email protected]