Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rupa & the April Fishes Plays the Rickshaw Stop

so last night the avatar and i got giggle! stamped on our wrists, big black x's marked on our hands, and entered the dimly lit, red velvet-curtained walls of the richshaw stop. we were there to see san francisco-based group Rupa and the April Fishes perform, but it was also a pretty interesting scene to see - or maybe altered states of consciousness just had me questioning my surroundings more. i think, really though, it was my first time on my own at a small music venue filled with adults. and it's bizarre, it's a trip, to see this whole new world of grown-up interactions. plus it's always interesting to examine the social dynamics of situations... anyhow, some folks were dressed to impress with superfly, quirky style and i was surprised and a little weirded out by the seemingly hip fad of wearing really cool hats - there were numerous guys in richly-colored fedoras with pretty feathers, a top hat reminiscent of the mad hatter's, bowler hats, pageboy caps.

the opening acts for rupa & the april fishes were two a cappella groups, an all-female group called the conspiracy of venus and their brother group, the all-male conspiracy of beards. we arrived near the end of the womyn's show and after a brief intermission i started laughing as the men took the stage... ohhhhhhh, they're the guys with the cool hats! the funny, eclectic, and lively conspiracy of beards only sings a cappella songs of the late leonard cohen. how's that for quirky? they do a beautiful rendition of "hallelujah," but my favorite was their electronic-sounding throwdown of god is alive, magic is afoot, replete with screams, animal moans, stomping feet, and thumping microphones. oh and they do sport many unique beards.

after the beards' performance rupa & the april fishes finally took the stage and threw a party. unfortunately the rickshaw stop is too cozy and intimate of a venue for the crowd that they drew - it was too cramped to properly dance and enjoy their show... but it was still fantastic. they are a mezcla of latin-gypsy-french countryside-balkan sexy-playful-raucous-romantic soulfulness with enchanting lyrics in english, french, and spanish. as musicians they are amazing: even if she weren't such an amazing musician rupa's beauty and strong presence is enough, homie on the stand-up bass jams and busted out some almost hip-hop beats, dude on the drums played one of the best drum solos i've heard, fools on the hornsssss!, both the trombone and the trumpet were incredible, and i'll be honest, the guy on the cello i didn't really listen to that much because the avatar and i were too busy discussing whether or not celloist is pronounced chell-o-ist or chell-ist. anyway, great show, the crowd screamed like crazy for a little longer than we all would have liked to bring them back for an encore, i just wish there had been more room to dance so that i could have actually started sweating.

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