Xiu Xiu Fuel Phoenix’s Fire
With an invigorating set of new material, the San Francisco-based quartet set sparks to Southwestern indie rock fans.
With the scorching, dry spring heat descending upon Phoenix, San Francisco’sart rockers Xiu Xiu rolled into town just in time to up the ante with theirblistering sonic blasts of stark, sweaty misery. And within the walls of theRhythm Room last night (April 8), frontman Jamie Stewart wailed out his soulto the sun-kissed show-going denizens of Arizona.
Opener and fellow Kill Rock Stars recording artist Thao Nguyen and her band the Get DownStay Down led a set of hand clapping, tambourine shaking, and country-tingedtunes, as Nguyen’s voice occupied the sacred space between husky andethereal, soothing the enthusiastic crowd and stoking the flames for XiuXiu’s sizzling assault.
Though retaining the creaky, just-about-to-break tension of their studiowork, Xiu Xiu transformed into a pulsating, storming live band.Copiouspercussion punctuated the driving emotion of material from their new album,Women as Lovers, while the eclecticism of flutes, xylophones,standup bass, and even a syncopated gym whistle solo during “I Do What IWant, When I Want,” served to remind that Jamie Stewart and crew are muchmore than a common arty post-punk band.Witnessing their glimmering take onan oft-rehashed genre was a refreshing slap across many a sunburned mug.
We asked:On Xiu Xiu’s latest album, Women as Lovers, theband cover David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure” with Swans’ MichaelGira. If the planets aligned you were able to cover any Bowie song with anartists of your choice, which tune and musician would you choose?