Seeing Xiu Xiu at the Northside Taverns was one of those moments where you want to slap yourself in the face for all the time in your life that you weren’t listening to Xiu Xiu. I was loosely familiar with Jamie Stewart’s work starting from around the time that Fabulous Muscles was getting a lot of attention, but their show on Wednesday blew to dust everything I thought I knew about Xiu Xiu.
First of all, there was nothing “weird” about Xiu Xiu’s show. Yeah, there were a lot of atypical instruments (including a great moment with a Nintendo DS — more on that later) but nothing that would even come close to a performer that was trying to distance himself from the audience or be off-putting (which is truthfully what I kind of expected). No, from the Sufjan-esque tenderness of some of the slower songs to the raw power of the guitar rocking ones, this was a show that did all it could to draw me in.
Unfortunately I don’t really know the names of most of the songs Xiu Xiu played that night. “Gray Death” I was able to google thanks to the memorable line “you expect me to be outrageous, I will be extra outrageous,” but the rest were kind of a blur. The only one I knew well was “I Luv the Valley OH!” which got a great treatment with a Nintendo DS. I missed the memorable guitar chords, but that was a great way to breathe novelty and life into a classic song.
Lots more photos after the break