Club Helsinki Hudson
Saturday, March 7, 2015
Review and photos by Seth Rogovoy
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Dance-rock outfit Brazilian Girls, led by the sultry and alluring Sabina Sciubba, entertained a standing-room-only crowd at Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday night with its patented blend of state-of-the-art dance rhythms and world-beat-flavored textures. This little band – only three instrumentalists – boasted a huge sound that one could easily imagine capturing arena and festival audiences alongside groups such as Arcade Fire and Radiohead, both of which were conjured at times in the swell of the music and the swooping, overarching vocals of Sciubba.
But on Saturday night, Brazilian Girls were a club band at its best, taking advantage of the intimacy of the venue in every way possible. Sciubba chatted with fans flocking in front of the stage, joking and asking and answering questions, and at one point she took a tour through the entire club, singing into a wireless microphone while stopping to engage with listeners and drink a toast. I was on the receiving end of one of these moments, and Sciubba wasn’t going through the motions of some stage trick – she locked eyes, smiled, and made contact in what was a generous gesture of solidarity with her crowd.
The band played a mix of old favorites and new songs slated for an upcoming EP. Their early hit, “Jique,” boasted an industrial undercurrent while skipping along like a Talking Heads or Soul Coughing tune, while Sciubba’s vocals soared over like David Bowie. “Lazy Lover” was propelled by an Afro-Cuban clave rhythm with a psychedelic arrangement that somehow took it into EDM territory.
The trio of musicians pulled off the near impossible, sounding more like a rock orchestra than a power trio. Keyboardist Didi Gutman was largely responsible for the colors, which often included guitar-like sounds as well as samples and a variety of tones. Bassist Jesse Murphy anchored the tunes with phat riffs, and drummer Aaron Johnston was a miracle man, playing the sort of jungle, dubstep, reggae and hip-hop beats that these days are typically the work of computer programmers and not humans with sticks and skins. The boys also lent appropriate vocal harmonies where needed, helping to boost the sound and impact.
The show came to a rousing climax – if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun – with back-to-back hits “Pussy” and “Don’t Stop (Until I Come).” Sciubba was in total goddess mode at this point, and she has whatever Bjork and Lady Gaga have, and it’s easy to imagine Brazilian Girls headlining a festival like Coachella or Lollapalooza someday soon. The lucky couple of hundred folks who were there on Saturday night will be able to say they saw her when.