Xiu-Xiu Sings "Fast Car" in Denton, Texas
phone as soon as I could figure out how (along with Underworld, another electronic music heavy, so TELL YOUR MAMA I LIED.)
So it should come as no surprise to folks who know this band that when I was rousted from my home the other night ((on a TUESDAY, no less, has spring sprung around here or what?) and dragged over to the College of Santa Fe to see some band, I actually had a great time when the band in question turned out to be Xiu-Xiu.
I've long said, "If you can take percussion and make it sound really interesting, and then toss in a couple of completely affected vocalists, I will at least listen and bob my head as if I care for an entire set." Xiu-Xiu's cover of Ceremony (click the link above) met and exceeded those meager goals, and in the course of an evening managed to remind me of bands ranging from Dead Can Dance to Stereolab, certainly the Dresden Dolls and even (yes, can you imagine?) saintly Sonic Youth.
My only complaint really was that their sets weren't terribly tight to my virgin ears (long-time fans seemed to be in ecstasy, but there were more than a few Slooooow and Dreaaaaaary tracks I really could've done without. Emo is fine, folks...just get a bit more famous before you try and take me deep into your psychic core. For $6 at the College of Santa Fe, I just wanna dance and check out (very) young co-eds from (way) afar.
And dance we did tonight at the Aztec Street Cafe, for the inaugural show of the Aztec Spring (and maybe Summer?) Music Series. Produced by long-time Santa Fe musician, producer and music activist Walker Barnard, the Series begins with the novel premise that just because there are No Venues in this town doesn't mean we don't have an off-the-hook scene of musically inclined weirdos dying to rock the house - even if that house is the Aztec Street Cafe.
With a packed house of at least sixty (and that's a LOT of freaks in the freakin' Aztec) the evening was DJ'd by the inimitable DJ (Paul) Feathericci, and featured three live acts, beginning with the "prog rock" band Noceros. ("We're a mutant beast," said one member, "the tail end of Rhinoceros.") These guys played super-loud noise music with heavy flailing drums along with two vocalists battling it out in operatic falsetto. Oh yeah, baby. This is the kind of music that Makes No Sense to your parents, but is exhilarating because of its in-your-face adventureness and total lack of self-consciousness. WHO NEEDS IRONY? We're playing to play - dig?
This was followed by Ghost Kimo, who are clearly named for the dead boy killed in 1951 at the Kimo theater who maybe haunts the place, and who were described on the bill as a "No Wave" band. I've got a friend into No Wave and they sounded like I expected them to - sorta gothy electronic music that was (to my ears) completely non-offensive, (not so with the first and third acts, who were tolerable to *me* but might not have been to YOU.)
They, in turn, were followed by Emergency Room...honestly, by this point, I was kinda tired and not really paying attention - until a Spontaneous Slam Pit (I'm dating myself, I meant to say "Mosh Pit") suddenly erupted in the middle of their set, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MAIN ROOM AT THE AZTEC - and so of course, I had to push aside a couple of teenage girls who were trying their best to avoid the melee and soon I was pushing people around in the middle of the Aztec. I've done a lot of things in the Aztec - met and broken up with lovers, written Too Many Things, drank Too Much Coffee, plotted to overthrow the Man, had Thanksgiving Dinner once even - but I have never ever thrashed in that lovable space and I do believe it was high-time I did.
I got the feeling, pushing into some pimply faced git as hard as I could, that this Music Series will probably last as long as it can until people are spilling out of the place and it all gets Totally Out of Control. The sad part is that's Exactly what needs to happen around here - the sad part is, of course, that it might not last too long, for even though there's only coffee on tap, it's pretty clear to me these days that Santa Fe is perfectly happy with becoming a little old ladies town, where no one gets to cop a smoke, and no one can have a drink without video surveillance, and the only Creative Capital plans are in an office somewhere in the Round House because even in LA you can smoke on a patio...
If only you could really control creativity like that, if only it could be harnessed without any chaos whatsoever - in the future, an arts town will mean only lots of graphic designers in slick, smoke-free, drink-free, low-choloesterol live-work spaces - and Santa Fe will be a leader in that stultifying trend. May God help us all.
Perhaps the Aztec Music Series will awaken some of that chaos, and drag this town kicking and screaming into a realization that art is filled with drama in the making of something beautiful. If you want to see what it's all about, stop by tonight to hear the sounds of DJ Carlisle McQueen, DJ Bloodroot, and the OG Walker Barnard, making music for the sake of creativity, doing their part to create a scene in a town that sorely needs one.