Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Art Disco Goes Dingo! Rainbow Arabia and Spoek Mathambo at Mighty

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 8:49 AM

click to enlarge Rainbow Arabia - ROMANA MACHADO
  • Romana Machado
  • Rainbow Arabia
Rainbow Arabia
Spoek Mathambo
March 8, 2011
@ Mighty

Better than:
Greetings from war-torn Freedonia.

Doors at Mighty were at eight, but staff finally cracked them open at about fifteen 'til nine. A couple dozen dour and sensitive-looking types in their late twenties shuffled about sucking beer distractedly, and some girls danced without spirit to "Hold Yuh" by Gyptian as the clock ticked away and the fog machine let loose a preliminary burst. To say a palpable air of excitement gripped the room would be putting it too forcefully; rather, the patrons evinced the studied calm of the over-medicated prior to the opening act.

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.

click to enlarge Spoek Mathambo - ROMANA MACHADO
  • Romana Machado
  • Spoek Mathambo

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..."

Setlist:

Techno-step
I Know I See
Hai
Blind
Without You
This Life is Practice
Nothing Gonna Be Undone
Boys and Diamonds
Mechanical
Sequenced

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