[21 March 2009]
At the Touch & Go showcase, a man dressed in a pirate suit is sashaying around handing out shots of rum and T-shirts. Well, handing out is maybe the wrong term. One onlooker, emphatically not interested in a T-shirt, is briefly headlocked, while his arms and neck are forced through the openings. He looks down at himself, afterwards, astonished, as if he has just turned into another person. I am pretty sure I did not imagine this, but then, I did have one of those shots of rum.
I am, of course, not here for rum and pirates. I have come to see Mi Ami, whose staccato, Afro-rhythmed, yelp-and-drum-frenzy debut Watersports came out on Touch & Go on the day the label decided it wanted not to be in the record business. It’s a really good record, but Mi Ami is even better live, their guitarist Daniel Martin-McCormick spazzing like a string-tangled marionette, as he falsetto-yips and barks into the mic, drummer Damon Palermo half-naked and slicked with sweat, pulverizing his kit in tribal-on-speed patterns of eighths and sixteenths. Both Martin-McCormick and bass player Jacob Long started in Dischord band, Black Eyes, and a trace of that hardcore, righteously confrontational aesthetic remains. But straight-on punk beats have fractured into a million, Afro-funked pieces, glittery quick-paced cadences that shift in kaleidoscopic patterns. One of tonight’s highlights… and well worth the trip over from Spiro’s.