Xiu Xiu – “Metal” (live conceptual performance)

xiu xiu

A few weeks ago in New York City, Amy and I stumbled upon a Xiu Xiu performance that I had previewed here on the blog back in September, then forgotten to add to our calendar.

The performance was called Metal, and hosting space The Kitchen described it this way:

Wielding massive hammers, two Thai gold leaf pounders will work for three hours while Xiu Xiu (Shayna Dunkelman, Ches Smith, Jamie Stewart) plays 36 out 52 randomly selected 5 minute pieces for metal percussion. Changes will be signaled by a fire alarm bell and a new piece will begin. The sound and poly rhythms of the hammering gold against marble will be juxtaposed with gongs, vibraphones, cymbals, bells, crotales, bowls and rocar.

During our visit, one of those 5-minute percussion pieces happened to consist of the band using slinghots to fire hard, round butterscotch candies the size of large marbles toward cymbals and gongs hanging on the studio wall. In their very punk rock (or just reckless) style, the band members didn’t forewarn anyone about the flying shrapnel that ensued as these high-speed projectiles disintegrated on impact. I particularly cringed as vocalist Jamie Stewart risked severe eye damage by shooting straight down at a cymbal that lay at his feet.

This is proof that I AM OLD.

Here’s about a minute of the performance, just before the hard-candy fusillade began.