The phrase “dance music” is dicey as hell. Who can say why sometimes it conjures an overdose of non-biodegradable hazards (hair product, sharp plastic angles, synthetic drugs, strobe lights) and others it comes off as a medicine-man command given straight from the ancient earth. The crew from Forro in the Dark are strictly from the latter school. Their namesake strain of Brazilian dance music isn’t slick, it’s smooth: percussion and bass plus pifano, guitar and whatever else wants to pull up a chair and hang awhile. To celebrate their new record, Bonfires of São João—but secretly to just plain celebrate—the band worked it out for a packed house at Joe’s Pub last week, bringing some rawther distinguished friends (Bebel Gilberto, David Byrne, Miho Hatori) along for the ride.
FID’s shows are like big house parties with lots of idiot-grinning and senseless optimism (but it totally doesn’t even make you want to punch anyone in the nads). Mauro Refosco and his henchmen worked up a happy lather playing original songs from the record as well as old genre chestnuts, and when David Byrne joined them to belt out his version of the triumphantly mournful forro standard “Asa Branca,” it was total Death by Awesome: as lovely and riveting a sensation as you are likely to experience with your knickers on.