Xiu Xiu, "Clown Town (Live at Museum of Fine Arts)" Xiu Xiu, "FTW (Live at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston)"
If Jamie Stewart (who for all intents and purposes is Xiu Xiu) is playing with a full deck of cards, it’s not a deck you’d find on Planet Earth. So, not to judge or anything, but maybe before you go to a concert, you should at least listen to one song by that artist. Or learn anything about them at all. A lot of these MFA shows have a similarly accessible indie rock vibe, but come on: for at least the first half of Xiu Xiu's MFA show last week, peope were fleeing between songs like the place was on fire. This was surprising because Xiu Xiu are actually more straightforward live than on record, though that may not be saying much. Their rhythms are tighter and the instrumentation is often fuller; however, things definitely got trademark Xiu Xiu super uncomfortable when Stewart played alone on the acoustic guitar, as evidenced (above) by "F.T.W. and "Clowne Town": the songs were hanging on by a thread, and I curled up nervously in my seat hoping he wouldn’t chuck the guitar on the floor and run out of the room. Once the wusses were weeded out and the show ended, the once-sold out but now half empty Remis Auditorium gave the band a solid 10 minute standing ovation -- which continued even when the lights came on. Alas, and weirdly, we were not rewarded with another song. After such an emotionally (and vocally) draining performance, we can only imagine Stewart was either drinking heavily or passed out in the tour bus. A friend said after the show, "It was like walking in on someone who was masturbating and crying at the same time." Does that make us creepy voyeurs for enjoying ourselves?
-- Megan Bell