Anything but plain Jain is SXSW’s rising pop import

Jain, a French singer-songwriter, performs at Youtube at Coppertank during SXSW on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Erika Rich for American-Statesman

If pop is what you seek, Parisian solo sensation Jain should not be missed this SXSW. With an infectious dancehall-tinged take on electro-pop, the French solo artist charmed the crowd at The Gatsby Wednesday night, one of many shows the up-and-coming import is playing this week.

In a thick French accent she politely requested crowd participation. “Do this, please,” Jain said waving her hand side to side. (And they say manners are dead.) Time and time again the crowd respectfully obliged — besides, those beats are no joke. Her set was without a slowdown or a low point: Every song felt like a well-crafted would-be hit.

Jain was alone on the stage but the crowd was immediately on her side as she played an acoustic guitar covered in Sharpie scribbles and worked a wedge of electronic wizardry, blasting out thumping four-on-the-floor beats in time with the Pandora stage’s strobing lights.

For an extended take on the absurdly catchy “Come,” Jain sampled a member of the audience singing the chorus. His off-key voice cracking in the sample repeating as Jain jammed on may have been the most I’ve laughed all week.

“Do you want to dance for real now? Like this is the big party of South by Southwest?” Jain asked as her set came to its foot-moving finale. I suspect every Jain show just may be the big party of SXSW. Fans of Yelle take note. Or as Jain would sweetly put it, “please” take note.

Jain plays again at 1:50 p.m. Friday at Cedar Street.

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