CSS at Fitzgerald's, 7/17/2013
Photos by Jim Bricker
CSS Fitzgerald's July 17, 2013
Wednesday night in Houston used to be one of the best nights to mingle in the social Houston scene, especially during the now-famed Whiskey Wednesday sets from Robert Ellis and the Boys back in the day.
Well, it's been some time since Ellis was cutting his teeth, but it always comes to mind during a hump day show at Fitzgerald's. This Wednesday was somewhat different than those classic country nights, though, with Brazilian (mostly) female group Cansei de Ser Sexy taking the upstairs stage by storm. The crowd was ready for a dance party, which showed during CSS' first few notes.
It had been quite some time since I'd last heard about CSS, actually only really taking in their debut eponymous record, but I knew they were still wrecking through cities globally. I never, unfortunately, had the opportunity to see them live though. I really dug their first effort, but they were one of those groups that just flat-out fell off of the map for me. This show brought them back into my life at full throttle.
It was one of those shows that you can brag about - one that people wouldn't expect to be much of anything, but turned out to be the dance party of the year. They brought Wednesday-night fun back to Houston, and those lucky souls in attendance I'm sure are glowing this morning with the thought of CSS' performance in mind.
CSS had never played Houston before, mistakenly saying during their set that they've never played Texas but quickly recanting after realizing they've played Austin a handful of times as well as San Antonio and Dallas. [Ed Note: Even Houston too, at Warehouse Live.] They do, however, have the loosest of ties to Houston.
Their name, Cansei de Ser Sexy, literally translates from Portugese as "I got tired of being sexy." They reportedly stole from an early Beyonce quote, where she said that she was "tired of being sexy." I know it's not the most compelling of ties to H-Town, but that's all we got.
The performance was top-notch. Due to a scheduling error, I made it into Fitz about ten minutes into the set, just in time for them to drop their debut hit, "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above." If you know anything about Death From Above 1979, that must be some rough, fast sex.
Wednesday's set focused mostly on new material from CSS' new release, Planta, which has received critical acclaim for the production work by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. (For those of you trying to figure out which one in the band he was if you saw them at FPSF, he was the white one playing all those saxamaphones.)
The band, which consists of front woman and vocalist Lovefoxxx, three other ladies jumping around from instrument to instrument, and then some fellow on drums, seemed to be having quite a bit of fun together onstage. They playfully made it from one song to the next, which brought a certain carefree vibe to the room.
It seemed as if they were all best friends in elementary school, then hadn't seen each other for 20-odd years, and are now in a band together. They had that type of best-friend thing going on, which really showed during their extremely boisterous performance.
The set was good, but the last five or six songs were the bee's knees. "I Love You" was a great electro-rocker that brought the funk, while their iPod song "Music Is My Hot Hot Sex" garnered some of the biggest, sweatiest buzz of the night. At this point, the crowd was eating right out of Lovefoxxx's hands; she could do literally anything and it would impress them.
A slew of costume changes, a wig that screamed Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and some kick-ass leopard-print spanx were the basis of Lovefoxxx's getup, with the occasional cape thrown in for good measure. She was all over the stage, and dancing as hard as or harder than anyone else in the room. Her voice was really good too, never sounding the slightest bit worn or tired despite her jumping around the stage for a majority of the night.
CSS's encore came with fire, as the group saved their danciest songs of the night for the end. "Frankie Goes to North Hollywood," which might be one of the greatest song titles ever, came first, but the song of the night was the rap-infused closer "I've Seen You Drunk Gurl."
One of the other ladies in the band, who had been ripping away at guitars, keyboards and percussion throughout the night, took center stage with Lovefoxxx for an '80s-like rap duel. The beat was hot, and the rhymes were even hotter - just really solid hip-hop from a pair of cute Brazilian chicks. Sounds pretty great, huh?!
I really enjoyed myself at Fitzgerald's last night, and that seemed to be the consensus across the room. The band really loved what was going on too, at one point inviting everyone there to be a part of their family. If being part of their family involves me grooving throughout the night to a bunch of great dance-pop songs, then call me Uncle Jim.
Personal Bias: I really like to get down. CSS makes you get down.
The Crowd: Appreciative clubbers, nondescript hipsters.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Is that a wig?" when it most certainly was a wig.
Random Notebook (Twitter) Dump: Lovefoxxx channels Karen O, then makes mincemeat out of her and feasts for dinner. Debbie Harry would be proud.