Sometimes you're in the mood for a cacophonous, feedbacky, ear-drum splitting show and sometimes you aren't. And when you aren't, it's very hard to stay tuned in to the music when you spend half the show cringing from the pain resonating through your head.
I'm sorry to say Xiu Xiu put on one of those types of shows Friday night at The Echo. Here to perform tracks from their new release Women As Lovers, the overly sold old crowd (with 300 people left outside waiting to get in) shouted out their request for I Love the Valley Oh throughout the entire set.
While the multi-instrumentation use was a spectacle to behold, it's overuse negated it's presence. New Zealanders The Ruby Suns did more with less last weekend on the same stage.
The Ruby Suns
The highlight of the performance was watching drummer Ches Smith and his outstanding use of his oversized, I repeat, OVERSIZED percussion kit (I would hardly compare it to a standard kit). From what I could see, Ches had a smorgasbord of deformed cymbals, mega-bass drum, a ride the size of a small UFO, and various implements sitting on top of his floor tom while he played it. As if that weren't enough, he controlled the drum pad as well.
Due to Xiu Xiu's constant instrument switch-ups, there were many awkward silent moments between songs. Those sorts of moments where a misplaced cricket could feel right at home. There was more banter between singer Jamie Stewart and the sound man than the crowd. From the sounds of it, sound check had magnificently sounding monitors which decided to follow the 300 people who couldn't get in to another Silver Lake bar for the night. Where they, and their hearing were probably better off.