CSS at First Avenue, 10/17/2011

October 17, 2011
First Avenue, Minneapolis

Come to a CSS show expecting to move; come expecting to leave inhibitions behind and dance like you've never done so. The last time the Brazilian band was in Minneapolis, they opened for a sold-out Sleigh Bells show. This time the room was only half-full -- I'm an optimist -- which made it even easier to have a dance party.

A friend once told me that a show from a seat is a different experience from a show in the middle of a crowd. Truer words have never been spoken; you become a different person when lost in the moment and the music. But from the vantage point of a seat, you can people-watch -- I even noticed someone stretching in preparation for a night of dancing.

CSS, or Cansei de Ser Sexy in Portuguese, means tired of being sexy -- something that lead singer Lovefoxxx can't help but be. A front-man/woman without an instrument can go two ways; they can either be awkward or if they have the moves, they can pull it off and command the crowd. Lovefoxxx, being the latter, had enough energy to mandate every one in the crowd's attention.

Amongst the instantly discernible blend of synth and guitar riffs that is CSS's signature sound, the group converted the Mainroom into a glittery dance rave -- and I haven't seen this much glitter since the last Twilight movie. 

Donning a cape and mask during "Red Alert," Lovefoxx belted vocals that radiated and showcased the band's punk rock roots. A lipstick tube and inhaler used during the set may not be considered props, but they add to the mystique of a singer that oozes sex appeal. 

In "Fuck Everything," the band channeled angry rock girl, transitioning to "Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex," which it seemed like every person in attendance claimed as their theme song. I didn't know that cowbell was cool anymore, but CSS sure made it so in "Let's Reggae All Night," an unorthodox dance number. That being said, it's clear that CSS functions best when emulating the synthesizers and dance tricks of the '80s.

The band came back for a three-and-a-half-song encore; I say half because one song consisted of freestyle rapping that included lyrics thanking the crowd and hoping that they got their money's worth. Add in "Art Bitch" where Lovefoxxx sang from within the audience and ending with "La Liberacion," which the band was not ready for -- I was excited to hear a song in Portuguese played in the land of Norwegians.

Critic's bias: Dance party or not, I have not been to a show with the likes of a band like CSS headlining in a long time; if I ever become too much of an elitist to not even tap my feet for their set, please shoot me.
The crowd: Twentysomethings ready to dance.
Overheard in the crowd: "I wish I was Lovefoxxx."
Random notebook dump: CSS's keyboardist, Ana, could be a stand-in for Kristen Stewart -- okay, I'll stop with the Twilight references.

For more photos: See our full slideshow by Erik Hess.


You Could Have It All
Off the Hook
Hits Me Like a Rock
Red Alert
Let's Make Love
Jager Yoga
Fuck Everything
Music is My Hot, Hot Sex
Let's Reggae All Night
I Love You
City Grrl


Art Bitch
Free-style Rap
Beautiful Song
La Liberacion

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