Friday, April 04, 2008

Review & Photos : Xiu Xiu and Thao with the Get Down Stay Down @ Lola's

Simply stated: This show will go down as one of our favorites of the year and possibly all time (until Xiu Xiu tops themselves, of course).

Xiu Xiu has a knack for picking openers that sprawl all over the musical spectrum, but Thao with the Get Down Stay Down seem to be the most unlike them. When I say that, I don't mean that they were bad (they weren't) but they just didn't seem to fit the bill. Despite that, most enjoyed their performance, which was very much at home in the loved-by-locals bar that is Lola's, playing music that would be... well, most enjoyed the by the local bar crowd. Towards the end of the set, a man who appeared to be the owner of the place, joined the band on stage in an awkward, too-close duet with Thao. In addition to that bit of awkward stage sharing, Ms. Nguyen seemed a little bit... sauced (?), but that didn't stop her from sounding on point.

To get a sense of how good the show was, I will tell you that I have almost been dreading writing about it because it was one of those kinds of shows. Xiu Xiu's set started off with The Air Force's Bishop, CA, which showcased what their setup has become. With percussionist Ches Smith and double bass/bass player Devin Hoff added to the band's permanent live and recording roster, Xiu Xiu's sound has become fuller, but retained its sharp bite. Don't get me wrong, because multi-tasking leader Jamie Stewart and the combination of multi-instrumentalist Caralee McElroy/Stewart has never been one of lesser status, but this setup has just added a new sense to things. The performance ebbed and flowed through moments of harsh, yet refined sounds and moments where the only thing that could be heard next to Stewart's guitar and vocals was the clanking of the bottles being thrown away at the bar. Xiu's set consisted mainly of material off the band's sixth and most recent studio release Women As Lovers, with a few of their classic songs dispersed throughout. The funny thing about a band touring in support of an album that isn't one of their first releases, is that I usually end up being disappointed with the song choice, but with Xiu Xiu, that wasn't the case at all. They played a handful of old songs that everyone who has followed the band would know, and favorite material off the new album (although there aren't and songs to complain about off WAL).

(The Fox and the Rabbit- Soundcheck)
1. Bishop, CA
2. In Lust You Can Hear the Axe Fall
3. Clowne Towne
4. F.T.W.
5. No Friend Oh!
6. Puff and Bunny
7. You Are Pregnant, You Are Dead
8. Save Me Save Me
9. Gayle Lynn
10. I Do What I Want, When I Want
11. Clover
12. Apistat Commander
13. Suha

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

Xiu Xiu

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