Xiu Xiu - Barboza - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Xiu Xiu - Barboza

by Brian Lange. Rating:8 Release Date:2012-03-25

Other than the brazenly obnoxious woman blurting out her requests for Xiu Xiu to play Rihanna songs, the show in Seattle’s Barboza venue has all the hallmarks of an intimate, unforgettable gig. Something I find interesting about being immersed in the world of 'underground' or 'obscure' music is that, because of the emersion, I somehow assume that whatever it is I am listening to should be known by more than just myself and my two cool friends. Tonight, the music is quite literally 'underground' as the venue is in the basement off the main strip of the trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. 

I'm surprised to be stood face-to-face with founding member Jamie Stewart at the entrance to the small underground room prior to the opening acts. Even among Xiu Xiu fans, it seems somehow unlikely that many people recognize him. 

The show begins with a symbolic ritual in which Stewart and his companion, Shayna Dunkelman, pantomime two chimpanzees picking bugs off each other. Then comes the beautiful noise which lasts for almost 90 minutes and consists almost entirely of the latest record, Angel Guts: Red Classroom. 

The cramped room starts to heat up very quickly, causing Stewart to sweat quite profusely by the end of the show. Somehow, Dunkelman doesn't seem to break a single bead of sweat. There are few things more attractive to me than a woman who can attack a drum-kit like she does while playing some of the most abrasive electronic music out there. 

Similarly, I am sure Stewart gets both the girls and the boys swooning at his mastery of experimental and bizarre electronic sounds; one such is implemented using a metal vibrator, vibrating away in a small glass container. I guess they’re just keeping true to the Japanese erotic film from which the record was named.

The tubifex worms are mutating, and now they’re making a home inside your cochlea. Please attend a Xiu Xiu show for a visceral experience.

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