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In concert: Garotas Suecas at U Street Music Hall

garotas suecasYoung Brazilians Garotas Suecas, before their U Street Music Hall performance. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson)

By David Malitz

Maybe the lesson to be learned from Garotas Suecas is that when you have a genre of music that has presumably been drained of every last drop of vitality - in this case the psych-rock-funk mishmash of the late 1960s - simply hand it off to a bunch of kids a continent away and watch them revive it.

Garotas Suecas are not the Swedish girls their name suggests, but a sextet of gangly Brazilians in their early 20s. They brought nary a new idea to U Street Music Hall on Sunday but that was beside the point. With songs equally indebted to “Nuggets,” “Wattstax” and tropical sounds of their home, the group provided a revved-up soundtrack to a cozy late night (technically early morning) dance party.

(Read the rest of the review and see pictures from soundcheck, after the jump.)

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Compared to previous visits to D.C., the band’s material has shifted towards the funkier side of the spectrum - much more Bar-Kays than Barbarians. Instead of distortion-soaked power chords, guitarists Tomaz Paoliello and Sergio Sayeg favored a lighter, more percussive style that created an airier feel. There were still elements of ‘60s rock present - the opening of “Tudo Bem” was directly lifted from Kinks’ chestnut “Waterloo Sunset” - but like most songs it quickly became a rhythmic exercise, not quite thumping, but pleasantly bumping.

The band’s success comes from the fact that its sound is never studied enough to feel like straight homage. So much ‘60s revival is built on replicating every element of the original that it becomes a straight tribute. But Garotas Suecas manage to feel like more of a discovery than re-discovery.

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By David Malitz  | September 20, 2010; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Garotas Suecas  
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After a few songs, it all sounded pretty much the same to me, and if I did not know, I would not have guessed that they were Brazilian. They were tight and put on a good show, though. (I was there to see the opening act, Kid Congo Powers, anyway.)

As an aside, when a club posts on its web site that a show starts a particular time, they should get it right. The U St. Music Hall posted 9:00 on their web site but didn't open the doors until 10:00 or a little later (and the music didn't start until 10:45). I (and several other people) showed up a little after 9:00, only to find I had an hour to kill.

Posted by: MyPostID27 | September 21, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

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