I had marked down Xenia Rubinos on my calendar weeks in advance but when I saw Songbyrd’s offer of free tickets with the purchase of her latest LP, I could not refuse. And funnily enough, the door person was Homero of Go Cozy who’s throwing a small fest at his house next week. It was definitely an auspicious start to the night.
Xenia may be the hardest working musician I have and will ever witness. Her set started ten after nine and for the next fifty minutes, the beat dropped for maybe a combined total of a minute. The band then took a two minute break before reappearing for a fifteen minute encore.
If the goal was to break the fourth wall, Xenia and company succeeded with clapping and gyrating success. Every body and the parts attached to them were in sexy locomotion. She hopped into the crowd on more than one occasion to partake in the grinding and dancing. The Adams Morgan venue was effectively a club. Except there was no DJ and no records spinning.
It was all Xenia.
With slight help from a vocal effects pedal, she was a living turntable. The technique of her singing convincingly bridges the cutting rhymes of a rapper and the sonorous falsetto of an opera. It’s like her voice is a multi instrument and her ability to switch among them is simply superhuman.
The band is impressive too. Given the staccato nature of the music, each member had to keep machine like perfect beat unlike say an alternative band where one may rely on another. And I really appreciate that some songs were driven by the bass. It’s also the first time I have seen the snare run through some effects which contributed to the salacious vibe.
Don’t make the mistake I made and remember to bring dancing shoes.