Let's start with a digression. Last weekend, while everyone in NYC was partying at the Siren Festival, I was in Jacksonville, FL with my girlfriend and her entire extended family -- including three half-sisters (none of whom were older than 21) and her 19-year-old sort-of cousin, TJ, whose musical taste was more John Mayer than Jack White.
But we found some common ground on a mix CD I'd made, specifically "Alala" by Cansei de Ser Sexy, which became the de facto Party Anthem of the trip. (I don't think the girls will be picking up their album, but I'm hoping I've set TJ on a new musical path.) And with that, I started listening to the album more than I had already and became, quite excited about CSS's upcoming show at the Warsaw.
I was also trepidatious. The Brazilian quintet (four girls, one dude) scream Art School, and while conceptually that can be good, the onstage execution can leave something to be desired (Chicks on Speed come to mind).
But Cansei de Ser Sexy brought the party from the get-go, playing almost everything live -- a big surprise to me, I expected it to be Laptop City. And if a bit sloppy, they were actually pretty good musicians, especially guitarist Ana Rezende who was doing some really original stuff (and she used an E-Bow at one point, which excited this onetime Big Country fan).
The queen of the party, however, was singer Lovefoxxx, a Bjork-lookalike who jumped around, stripped off clothing, mooned the audience, jumped into the fray, and generally partied-it-up the entire show. (It was also her 22nd birthday that night, adding to the festive air.) She stage-dove at least SIX times, though the crowd wasn't really packed enough to support her for very long and she would sort of warn the audience before she did it. It was really cute. The funniest part, for me, was during "Alcohol" which turned into a Q&A session with Lovefoxxx as moderator:
Lovefoxxx: What's you're name?!?
Audience member: Huh?
Lovefoxxx: What's your name?!?
Audience member: Jasmine!
Lovefoxxx: Do you like alcohol?
Jasmine: Because it's great!
This went on for a while. I half expected Lovefoxxx to cup her hand to her ear, and say "We've got Marge from Poughkeepsie on the line. Go ahead caller!"
They were better at the rock than the funk, in my opinion, with "Off the Hook" being the penultimate CSS party moment though the whole show was a blast. It would have been better on a smaller stage -- the drums were too far back and there was too much space between them in general. (If only Luxx still existed...)
Due to errors in judgment (and my recent acquisition of The Wire Season 3 box set) I missed fellow Brazilians Bonde Do Role entirely, but stuck around for a good portion of Diplo's DJ set. It was weird to see people watch the DJ instead of just dancing... maybe I just don't go to enough DJ gigs, maybe that's how it always is.
If you go see them, be sure to check out the merch table. As you'd expect from art school girls, CSS shirts are worthy of any Williamsburg boutique, complete with designer tags.
And you should go see them. Their US tour is fairly extensive (dates from CSS's MySpace page):
Jul 21 2006 8:00P Mummers Museum Philadelphia, PA
Jul 22 2006 10:00P Sonar Baltimore, MD
Jul 23 2006 8:00P Black Cat Washington, DC
Jul 24 2006 8:00P Drunken Unicorn Atlanta , GA
Jul 26 2006 11:00P Warehouse Live Houston , TX
Jul 27 2006 8:00P The Parish Austin, TX
Jul 28 2006 8:00P Haileys Denton, TX
Jul 29 2006 11:00P The Granada Theatre Lawrence, KS
Jul 30 2006 8:00P Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago, IL
Jul 31 2006 8:00P Varsity Theater Minneapolis, MN
Aug 2 2006 11:00P Hi-Fi Calgary
Aug 4 2006 11:00P Celebrities Night club Vancouver
Aug 5 2006 11:00P Neumos Seatle, WA
Aug 6 2006 8:00P The Nightlight Lounge Bellingham, WA
Aug 7 2006 8:00P Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR
Aug 10 2006 11:00P Mezzanine San Francisco, CA
Aug 11 2006 11:00P The ECHO Los Angeles, CA
Aug 12 2006 11:00P Casbah San Diego, CA
Sep 20 2006 8:00P Studio A Miami, FL