Logan Square Arts Festival: Xenia Rubinos, Slo 'Mo Dance Party, DJ Jerome Derradji, She Speaks in Tongues, Weatherman | Illinois Centennial Monument | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Xenia Rubinos

Xenia Rubinos

Courtesy the artist

Logan Square Arts Festival: Xenia Rubinos, Slo 'Mo Dance Party, DJ Jerome Derradji, She Speaks in Tongues, Weatherman 

When: Fri., June 24, 5 p.m. 2016
Price: $5 suggested donation
On her knockout second album, Black Terry Cat (Anti-), beguiling Brooklyn singer Xenia Rubinos sharpens her knack for nonchalant genre juggling, colliding contemporary R&B, hard funk, and punk into one high-energy blur. Working again with drummer Marco Buccelli, who provides pitch-perfect rhythmic settings for her expansive ideas, Rubinos slyly delivers trenchant commentary about race in many of the tunes. The irresistible stutter of “Mexican Chef,” with its hard-rock update of early-80s South Bronx band ESG, includes the seemingly ebullient chorus “It’s a party across America / Bachata in the back,” though ultimately the track suggests a darker, catch-22 reality in today’s charged state of immigration “reform.” The lyrics break down a litany of unsavory things Latinos are subjected to: “Brown breaks his back, brown takes the flak, brown gets cut ’cause his papers are whack / Brown sits down, brown does frown, brown’s up in a hospital gown / Brown has not, brown gets shot, brown got what he deserved cause he fought.” On “Lonely Lover” Rubinos forges a delivery between Billie Holiday and Erykah Badu without stealing from either as she ruminates on a difficult day during which she requests some space, while “Laugh Clown” follows her through the same sort of pressure-cooker misery, but with a sense of humor. Rather than embrace some positive bullshit, Rubinos acknowledges skepticism, singing, “Don’t know where I’m going, only where I’ve been / I know that cliche’s tired but I feel it on my skin.”
— Peter Margasak

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