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Friday, December 15

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Review Fri Jul 17 2015

Xylouris White Quickly Captivated Schubas

xylouriswhite2.jpgEarlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing Jim White and Giorgos Xylouris perform earlier this year at Thalia Hall. It wasn't my first introduction to the two musicians. I was familiar with White's work with The Dirty Three and Xylouris' storied career with his musical family. However, that evening at Thalia Hall they were opening for Swan which resulted in more than a few people in the crowd being unsure of the duo's reputation. It took little time to see that Xylouris White were nothing short of astounding. Seeing them live was revelation even to me, completely blowing away my expectations derived from studio recordings. Their performance was , When they announced a show at the much more intimate Schubas, I knew it would be a must see show.

circuitdesyeux2.jpgThe night started off with a wonderful performance by Circuit des Yeux. While the core of the project is Haley Fohr, she was joined by a full band that definitely did her songs justice. Fohr came to the stage with nary a word, setting her mind solely on her set. Fohr's wails and impassioned bellows demand to be heard. Her hair obscured her face throughout the night, making her voice seem all the more mysterious. Her vocal range dips towards the lower end, instantly reminding me of similarly deep sounding vocalists like Nina Simone and Nico. Fohr pushes her voice out with such tremendous force, producing long moans that come off as meditative mantras intended to bring the audience closer into her music. Her lyrics reflect that sentiment as they feel like they're directly conversing with the listener. Certainly the crowd at Schubas felt a connection as they listen on utterly entranced.

circuitdesyeux.jpgBefore Xylouris White casually set up their equipment, they walked around Schubas without an ounce of pretense or ego. As they came to the stage to set up their instruments, they held the same sincerity to their demeanor. It was interesting to see musicians with accolades as they have be so casual and personable. White sat at his drum set and kicked off his shoes while Xylouris began casually strumming his lute. It took no time for the two men to completely enthrall the venue. It felt like a completely different experience from the last time I saw them. This time everyone around me knew how great this duo can be and were met with a compelling set.

xylouriswhite1.jpgXylouris White's music infuses elements of so many genres in their music. They combine jazz, rock, post-punk, and folk styles together in peculiar and endlessly interesting ways. At times it feels like all these pieces shouldn't fit into place, but they somehow make it work beyond what the source genres are capable of alone. Part of this ability comes from the cohesiveness of White and Xylouris. They played off each other so well, occasionally staring at each other as if they were communicating telepathically. A smile here or a nod thee was ll that was needed to acknowledge or prepare for their net move. When they invited their musician friend up on stage to play bass, the communication grew tenfold. They responded to each others' change ups without missing a beat. It is truly extraordinary to see masters at their craft perform these complex songs with such finesse.

Xylouris and White looked like they were possessed during the more manic moments of the set. While most of Xylouris's mannerisms stuck to a gentle tenderness as strummed his lute, looking as if he were cradling a calm infant, there were moments were he erupt at the height of songs. His fingers moved so quickly across the lute looking like a frantic spider crawling up the neck. White, too, moved with unwavering fury as his arms fluttered around him with unstoppable momentum. Not a single movement from either man was wasted, no matter how outlandish it seemed. Every effort put forward was necessary to create their beautifully unique sounds. If anything could describe their performance its beautifully controlled chaos. They ended their set as casually as they began, returning to the middle of the venue to meet with their captivated audience. .

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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