Lovefoxxx is a superstar. There’s no other way around it. Part aerobics instructor, part Mary Catherine Gallagher, part pixie, and all about fun. Wearing a glittery, many-hued catsuit, the likes of which have not been seen since Marylin McCoo left Solid Gold, the CSS singer looked like a bouncing disco ball set free on Irving Plaza’s stage.
Last time I saw CSS was nearly a year ago at Warsaw, opening for Diplo. They were messy but fun, their enthusiasm infectious. But after spending the last 12 months on tour, these Brazilians have become much better all around — the musicianship now almost matching their enthusiasm. They’ve also merged their electro and punkish sides, so that the rock songs have more groove and the dancey numbers ("Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above," "Music is My Hot Hot Sex") feature more guitar. CSS now sound more like a band and less like an art project.
I’m not sure that Irving Plaza was sold-out, but it felt packed and the crowd was nearly as ready to have a good time as Lovefoxxx. They played everything from the first record except for the first and last song, plus a few new numbers and a cover of L7’s grunge-era classic "Pretend We’re Dead" which they made their own with cheesy keyboards and sampled guitar a la Elastica’s "Connection." (Come to think of it, they could probably do a good version of that too.) The best number was probably "Meeting Paris Hilton" which had the whole crowd shouting along with the "the bitch said yeah!" chorus.
The encore, in which openers Yo Majesty (more on them in a minute) were on-stage for, was new song "I Wanna Be Your J-Lo" and "Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above," which pretty much brought the house down. Lovefoxx also reminded us to check out the merch table’s awesome t-shirts, saying, "I’m pregnant and need money for my baby!" I don’t know if she was kidding or not, but it’s no secret that she and Simon Reynolds of The Klaxons are, like, totally in love. I will say she didn’t seem to be drinking onstage (unlike last time) so maybe it’s true. If so, congratulations Lovefoxx and Simon!
A word about the venue. I haven’t been to Irving Plaza in a long, long time — maybe two years — and had it in my head that I hated it as much as Webster Hall. But I didn’t mind it at all Friday night. In fact I quite liked. I don’t know whether it was CSS’s lighting or Irving Plaza’s in-house rig, but it was quite spectacular in an understated way, making Lovefoxx all the more sparkle-y and worked well with the rest of CSS’s black-and-white outfits. I take it all back… just don’t ask me to call it the Filmore.
What to say about openers Yo Majesty? They were part of the reason I went to this show, after hearing awesome accounts from their SXSW performances. Black, homo, and proud, these three ladies from Tampa, Florida had the crowd going wild with their twist on the booty bass sound of their home state. I’m not going to try and pass myself off as any sort of hip hop authority, but I thought they were great. It could’ve been novelty but Shon B. Shunda K. and Jwl B. make it apparent this is no joke, give it their all and made a believer out of me.
Awesome photos courtesy of Leia J’s Flickr photostream.