The Brazilian Girls
March 4, 2005
¿Cómo se dice "foxy?"
Review by Shannon Coulter
Not only are they ultra-tight, savvy, and talented, but on Saturday the Brooklyn-based Brazilian Girls gave the rare kind of performance that makes you truly glad to be alive for the exact slice of space-time in which you're seeing it. From the first line spoken ("Die Gedanken Sind Frei," meaning "Thoughts Are Free"), the crowd gave themselves over completely and -- for once -- unselfconsciously, to the music: a sultry but virile mix of bossa nova, jazz, reggae, trip-hop, and cabaret. None of us seemed to feel the slightest bit of pity or consideration two fellow audience members who tried to maintain the motionless pose of the Pacific Northwesterner amidst all the elated rug cutting. Uh-uh, nope. Those delicate flowers got hip-whipped right off the floor as San Franciscans uncrossed their arms at last and made with some *serious*, grown-up ass-shaking.
Forced to do battle with each another, it's still not clear to me which would win: the scorching hotness of Sabina Sciubba or her deep, delicious cool. Fortunately for us, they've chosen to take up residence in a single specimen of woman along with a meltingly beautiful voice, a poetic sense of style, and a canary-eating smirk. Instead of the little lacy masks she sometimes likes to wear on stage, the Italian-born Sciubba (pronounced "Shoo-ba") combed her long bangs straight over her eyes, and shimmied alluringly while singing in no less than five different languages--the linguistic windfall of a transcontinental childhood in Europe. It's clear that we would have grooved just as hard if English hadn't been in her repertoire, but San Franciscans went absolutely nuts for songs like "Pussy," which with it's refrain of "pussy, pussy, pussy, marijuana" sounding like it could have been written as an anthem for our city.
(If you find such lyrics too simplistic, then please feel free to join our two mustachioed friends on the sidelines for a bracing round of Cranium.)
Didi Gutman (from Argentina) on keyboards and computer added aural interest and relevance to the music with some unlikely yet brilliant choices like the weird Victorian violin riff in “Die Gedanken Sind Frei,” while Jesse Murphy on bass and Aaron Johnston on drums served up rhythms so hot and tasty they made us grind like Bonobos. By the end of the show, a guy standing next to me was literally open-mouthed with joy over this band, and when they closed with a knowing yet light-as-air cover of Cole Porter's "It Was Just One of Those Things," there wasn't a dry pair of panties left in the house.
Epic foxiness and talent? It's easy to see why the Verve Forecast label recently scooped up these globe-trotting lovelies. Thanks to the Nublu Club in New York for being the free-thinking sound lab that spawned this terrific band and please, Girls, count us in for the next tour.