Two days ago, South African rapper Spoek Mathambo was at Carnival tweeting about how hoody it's all gotten down in Recife, Brazil. He didn't vouchsafe any opinion of us last night, instead going through the all-knees-and-elbows motions of a brief set with coiled concentration and oily-tongued assurance. The dance floor pulsed a little, and the accompanying saxman began to bite off some bop passages, with Mathambo making his voice bounce pleasingly off the brick walls. My photographer voted "suck," but the crowd was now far more animated as Spoek was briskly mitted off at the half-hour mark.
Rainbow Arabia's methods run a broader gamut, and achieved far more impressive results. Upon seeing them in L.A. a couple of years ago, I snorted off a couple of lines about this Echo Park duo's "little synth-dance tunes," but by the time the bare floorboards under me began to throb with bass, it was plain such high-hat would never do a second time. This is "world" music from some other, greener world altogether, and it kicked off a brief and intense tribal hoedown. The whorls and arabesques became fiercer and the dancing less restrained until the end of the last song, when the audience began to angrily howl for more. "You really are beautiful people," cooed singer Tiffany Preston, "We really don't have any more." The protests yelped all the sharper as the lights went slowly up and the security guy put in an appearance. Everyone left after that.
Random notebook dump: "Not a terribly fashion-conscious crowd, this."
Overheard: Cheerful girl on Utah Street as we went in: "I still shoot a little heroin from time to time..."
I Know I See
This Life is Practice
Nothing Gonna Be Undone
Boys and Diamonds