When "New Wave City" began 10 years ago, new wave was not retro and "New Wave City" was not cool. The club night was the happy stomping ground of the "Friends of Numan," those progressive graduates from the Class of 1984 who were unabashed in their adulation of Gary Numan and unashamed of their want for a musical time capsule in which to admire their treasures. Sure, the bachelorette parties came and went, along with the men who follow such flocks, but luckily these groups could never go the full duration. They might have a couple of shots and bounce around to Adam Ant, but they couldn't really fathom the darkness and depth of Joy Division, the power of Kraftwerk, the aggressive pep of the Buzzcocks, the necessity of the Ramones, or the pure absurdity of Soft Cell. Now, there's a whole new crop of people interested in broad stripes and pointy shoes, those lovers and creators of the "newest wave" who claim a lifelong allegiance to Depeche Mode, Human League, Duran Duran, and Haircut 100, but the poof is in the padding, you might say. When this new new wave has crested and crashed, rest assured "New Wave City" will still be standing, the bastion of all that was danceable from the '70s and '80s. Happy birthday, you wacky kids. "New Wave City" celebrates 10 years on Friday, Sept. 20, at Space 550 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 675-LOVE.
Led by Dean Pean, a scraggly, barefoot, melodica-playing troubadour with a voice as thick as Serge Gainsbourg's beard on day four, Lo'Jo carries the smoky savoir-faire of French ballad-noir into the realm of Gypsy camps, African drum circles, East Indian mountain ranges, and Caribbean cookouts. Since 1982, more than 300 musicians have contributed to the core sextet's sound, offering instruments such as the obus (a World War I bombshell used in similar fashion to a Tibetan bowl), orgue à soufflet (something similar to an Indian harmonium), boîte à son (a wooden "sound box" equipped with a microphone that is worn over the head of a singer who manipulates various effects), panier (a willow basket containing grains that resonate when shaken), and cristal baschet (a rack of crystal tubes rubbed with moistened fingers and amplified by metal cones), all of which have been incorporated into Lo'Jo's vast, passionate sound.
Every year, the group joins forces with the Tuareg rebel guitar band Tinariwen to produce the movable Le Festival au Désert. Next January, the roving conglomeration of circus performers, actors, pyrotechnicians, street performers, painters, cabaret singers, and musicians will fill up a desolate expanse of sand somewhere outside of Timbuktu. Until then, you may enjoy Lo'Jo at the terribly exotic Fairfax World Music Festival, which features more than 30 groups, including Morocco's Hassan Hakmoun, France's Les Yeux Noir, Jamaica's Don Carlos, Congo's Ricardo Lemvo, and Cuba's Makina Loca, as well as familiar U.S. transplants like Shabaz, West African Highlife Band, and Sister Carol. Lo'Jo performs at the Fairfax World Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday, Sept. 22, at 4:30 p.m. in Fairfax Park (down Sir Francis Drake, you can't miss it). Admission is $35 each day, but you'll be able to hear the music for free anywhere in Fairfax; visit www. fairfaxworldmusicfestival.org for directions and a complete schedule.