Xenia Rubinos is a — ok, what is she? A singer-songwriter-yeller-wreaker-of-havoc who plays an avant-garde version of R&B with a lot of loud, hectic guitar in it. I’ve been pronouncing her name “Zenya” but she says “Senia.” She played to about 100 people at the Frequency last Thursday. She seems to belong in a much bigger place in front of a much bigger crowd, so much so that it feels a little weird to be right there next to her as she does her frankly pretty amazing thing. Here’s “Cherry Tree,” from her 2013 debut, still her best song by my lights. It would be most people’s best song.
This, live, was pretty close to the record. Other songs weren’t. Live, I thought she and her band sometimes sounded like Fiery Furnaces, which doesn’t come through on the records. “Pan Y Cafe”, a fun romp on the album
is much more aggro live. It’s kind of what the Pixies “Spanish songs” would be like if somebody who actually spoke Spanish wrote them. (She likes the Pixies.)
Maybe I should make a post about the greatest shows I’ve seen in Madison. This was one of them. Who else? Man Man in 2007. The Breeders in 2009. Fatty Acids / Sat Nite Duets in 2012. I’ll have to think about this more thoroughly.