The group that is Brazilian MCs Bonde Do Role take the stage, and immediately I think, "Wait, are they even old enough to drink?"
I am then audio pelted by weird and fantastic Portuguese rhymes, robot break dancing, and more sampling than a P. Diddy album. But this just the tip of the iceberg for Bonde, a trio of mischievous friends who blatantly ignore any sort of legal issues about copyright infringement and use splices of well-know pop, indie, and rock songs as backing tracks. M.I.A., The Darkness, and an odd version of what sounded like Huey Lewis and the News were some favorites of the group that night.
Superstar DJ Diplo, responsible ironically for a lot of what M.I.A. sounds like, apparently discovered the punks for what is now known as "funk carioca," jazzy tropical rhythms paired with bass blues and a lot of dancing. Bonde, who is the first band signed to Diplo's newly christened label Mad Descent, take the funk even further by writing ridiculously vulgar and dumb lyrics with a pop culture dose. Thankfully, I didn't find out that tidbit of information until after Bonde's set lest I began to giggle at MC Pedro D'eyrot: "I was at a party/And I saw a whore/I put my tongue into her asshole/And my tongue came out all dirty."
He and female MC Marina Ribatski lunged at each other's throats, backed up their booties into the crowd, and flipped their hair around while singing on stage, Ribatski's performance even more impressive since her left arm was in a beige hard plaster cast. Producer and DJ Rodrigo Gorky helped assist the two spit out their lyrics, and sounded like a high Horatio Sanz when he rapped. During their last song, they pulled up some of the girls from CSS who were dancing in the front row and proceeded to freak dance and do the limbo. When the trio departed and the crowd waited for CSS to take stage, I couldn't help but feel really, really confused by their set. Was this the future of rock and roll? Did I mind I had no effing clue what anything was sung about? Did I just watch a high school talent show? Whatever it was, I danced my ass off and had a blast.
I eagerly awaited the girls of also Brazilian status CSS to begin, and finally they pranced on stage to begin, like a cross between a beauty pageant and some serious Bring It On action. Immediately they destroyed my expectations of any disco band notions I may have had; five girls dressed in jeans, converse, short jumpsuits, cowboy boots, cut off shorts, and a green sweat suit ensemble, fingers furiously on bass wires and guitar strings. Lead singer LoverFoxxx began by shimmying up to the crowd backwards doing what the kids like the call "dropping it like it's hot." She then proceeded to whip around her hair at volume speeds, kick and punch the air with a vengeance, roll around the floor and do hip thrusts, do backwards somersaults, all the while still singing perfectly and in key.
I felt sort of pretentious watching CSS, which is short for Cansei de Ser Sexy ("Tired of Being Sexy" translated) - I know this is a band who is not yet big enough in the States to be recognizable, but they are on the cusp of becoming wrapped up in a huge "listen to this band NOW" frenzy. The crowd at Mezzanine literally ate them up, various members stage diving into the crowd, Lover continually holding out her mic for someone to continue singing, all the while never missing a note. They ripped through "Meeting Paris Hilton," "CSS Suxxx," and closed with "Let's Make Love To Death From Above," each song progressively getting saucier and each member getting ridiculously sweatier. They each truly looked like they were having the time of their lives on stage, laughing and grinning with each other. CSS sort of sounds like if Le Tigre and Sleater-Kinney got together to make an electro album. I really think they are going to upstage Ladytron when CSS opens for them in November. A match has been made.
By Jenn Hernandez