Treefort Music Festival Day 3: On Chong the Nomad's Space-Age Roller Rink Party

Live Reviews
Martin Douglas
Chong the Nomad at Treefort Music Fest 2019 // all photos by Travis Trautt (view set)

The dancefloor of El Korah Shrine looks like a skating rink. Flashing, prismatic lights coming from the stage definitely heightens this effect.

Alda Agustiano — better known as Chong the Nomad — is a one-woman dance party, moving to the music all over the stage, trying to fill as much space as she can with her joy; a tall order for how massive her performance area for the next hour is. When she isn't singing on the stationary mic at center stage, or furiously strumming her ukulele, or triggering samples (like the chorus to Ghost Town DJs' eternal dance staple "My Boo"), she is dancing on the far end of the stage or juking in front of her setup. 

Agustiano's immersive, startlingly fun, and formally daring compositions have been lighting up Seattle in a very big way for the past year, so to see the Boise crowd react by dancing like they have insects running through their jeans and leggings speaks to the addictive quality of her music. In between remixes and pulsating, sample-heavy original beats, she played harmonica and beatboxed simultaneously in the most arresting moment of the set. It was difficult for anybody (present company steadfastly included) to stand still; gyrating and bouncing and swaying to the futuristic grooves of the Seattle production wunderkind.

There were a couple of moments where I felt Agustiano might very well be the second coming of Timbaland, but that would be shortchanging her immense talent. She is a truly singular artist, and if the world is a just place at all — the meritocracy we often pretend it is — it will only be a matter of time before she becomes a super-duper-star.

My kingdom for a Missy Elliott collaboration.

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