With Eons and the Hongs
Ball & Chain, Miami
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Better Than: Any band featuring Gisele, Sônia Braga, or even Carmen Miranda.
Walking into the new Ball & Chain bar, it was a little jarring to see a packed room staring at a three-piece jazz band.
Were we late? And where was NYC electro-pop outfit Brazilian Girls? The party already seemed to be in full effect.
As we discovered, this was the no-cover zone. And out back on the outdoor patio, the dancey, punky main event awaited.
On a shell-shaped stage, which had just been completed that day, stood 305 electro duo Eons, halfway through their '80s inspired set. They were followed by local favorites the Hongs. And by then the fashionably late Miami-time crowd had arrived.
The show was sold-out enough that Ball & Chain staff at the door were turning away people with cash in hand, but there was still plenty of room to frolic as the three guys and a girl of Brazilian Girls took the dimly lit B&C stage.
A rare guitarless band -- consisting of Aaron Johnston on drums, Didi Gutman on keys, and Jesse Murphy on bass -- Brazilian Girls got into a groove as the star, Sabina Sciubba, sashayed onto the stage holding a plastic cup filled with wine, beer, or some other libation that the outdoor lighting was too dim to reveal.
The one-time party band has matured in the six years since they last released an album.
Most of the hour-plus set (save the last two songs) was dedicated to their new as-yet-unreleased material. It had a jazzier feel, more laid-back. In our recent interview, we here at Crossfade described Brazilian Girls as "a Blondie for the hipster generation," but now they are more reminiscent of Stereolab while their singer's muse seems more likely to be Nico than Debbie Harry.
At one point in the evening, Sabina stepped down to sing from within the crowd. And after another several songs, she again descended into the audience, seeming to partake in a substance that Florida recently voted against legalizing for medicinal purposes.
"No flash photography," she pleaded in her European-by-way-of-Italy-Germany-and-France (but not Brazil) accent. And later, she said, "I'm a little tired tonight, we need you," urging the intimate crowd to inch toward the stage.
"Life is a dream," she crooned, before asking the crowd to sing-along and "scream it loud!" They did as she commanded.
In the end, for their obedience and their pleasure, Brazilian Girls rewarded the fans with songs they actually knew.
The night would have felt empty without being allowed to holler "pussy, pussy, pussy, marijuana!" After all, a Brazilian Girls concert is perhaps the only socially acceptable venue for shouting those words in that exact succession.
They left the stage for the briefest of moments. But they soon returned. And they went from crass to class, following a song called "Pussy" with "Me Gustas Cuando Callas," a ballad off their first album with words taken from a Pablo Neruda poem.
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Then Brazilian Girls left the stage for good with promises that they would be back to Miami.
May they stay true to their word.
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