Live Music Review //
Xiu Xiu / Mountain Movers
October 23rd, 2023
at The Space Ballroom, Hamden CT

Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

This entire day felt like everything was working against me trying to get to this show, but by the time it was around 7pm I got it all together and headed out.   This show stayed fairly true to its time as the doors were open when I got there.   Mountain Movers took the stage right around 8pm and the placed was packed.  I'm not one who is into big crowds and this was definitely a big crowd.  It wasn't at capacity, but it was pretty close.

I hadn't seen the Mountain Movers since back when they played the Shirese record release show, but I really feel like they have that type of sound which translates best live and I should be taking every opportunity I can to see them, even if it means driving up to MA some times.   Their sound is loud, trippy and melodic.  

Some songs by the Mountain Movers seem to have a lot of vocals and are shorter, while others are longer and more music heavy.  They also seem to encompass everything in between.  This entire live set had the crowd in the palm of their hand, as there was just so much energy in The Space Ballroom.  People were packed in, but they were mostly all respectful of each other and they were definitely all deeply into the music.

Mountain Movers played for around forty minutes and then by 9pm, after a break in between, Xiu Xiu took the stage.  I don't know how they did it (I'm glad that they did) bu Xiu Xiu played for about seventy minutes before coming back for an encore of one last song.   While I don't mind shows with four or five artists playing sets (or even three) if having only two artists means that the artists play longer then I'm all for it.

I have been listening to Xiu Xiu for what feels like twenty years now and this was my first time seeing them live.   They brought such an energy as a trio that I couldn't imagine how sad I would've been had I missed this show.  Let's face it: Music isn't always kind.  You can listen to a musical artist for ten plus years, finally see them live and then wish you had stuck with the memories of them because their live performance might be less than expected.

Xiu Xiu delivered in every way possible.  Their set was so quiet at times people seemed uncomfortable.   Their set was so loud at times- with Jamie Stewart screaming into the microphone- that you could see people in the crowd get the jump scare.  And it was just everything else under the sun from heavy songs to songs that made me want to dance.  

Perhaps the most noticeable quality of this set was that even though there was a full drum kit being played behind them, both Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo had cymbals and other forms of percussion near them to play.   This was a really, really percussion heavy set and I loved that about it as well.   Often times listening to artists such as Xiu Xiu on a recording you don't know how certain sounds are made but experiencing this live was in some ways like learning how a magician does their tricks.

The one thing which Xiu Xiu and other artists of their stature can have working against them is that they have so many albums, just so much music out there, that if you were going into this show hoping to hear a certain song you might not have heard it.   However, my absolute favorite Xiu Xiu album is "Girl with Basket of Fruit".  I wasn't sure they were going to do it, but their last song before the encore they played the title track.

Up until that point, I had it in my mind that I really enjoyed this set even if they didn't play that song and that was just going to be how it was.  So to bring it out at the end was like this spark ignited in me when I was about to submit.  In some ways, this was a much better feeling than if they had played this song earlier in the set.  And the entire time, the crowd was fully into everything Xiu Xiu did.   If you ever have the chance to see Xiu Xiu perform live, you should 100% take it.   There will be no regrets.  

Xiu Xiu can be found on the web here :::

Mountain Movers can be found on Bandcamp here :::

The Space Ballroom can be found on the web here :::


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