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Live Review: CSS @ Black Cat — 5/3/24

CCS (or Cansei de Ser Sexy) celebrated 20 years in a boisterous yet easygoing set recently at Black Cat, launching a USA tour that saw the band take a well-deserved victory lap with no new music but plenty of good vibes.

“We used to sing about sex but now we sing about cats,” quipped frontwoman Lovefoxxx, although many songs performed as written were indeed about sex.

From 2004 to 2013, CSS dropped four memorable full-length albums, riding the electrocash dance scene within the post-punk revival that was going strong at the time. At Black Cat on May 3, CSS dusted those albums off and partied down with a nearly full house that was ready to dance.

CSS’s self-titled full-length record was the star of the show, and the revitalized quartet offered up “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex,” a earworm banger that never says die. For many folks, the song put CSS on the radar when Apple featured it in an iPod commercial in 2007. For Black Cat concertgoers, the number was the start of a delightful evening of good times.

CSS’s two most recognized songs hail from their debut album IMO — “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above,” which closed the main set, and “Alala,” which closed the encore.

For my money, you don’t get a better dance song than “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above,” which comes is a glam stomper with post-punk guitar riffs and a little bit of hip hop flavor.

Watch the official music video for “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above” by CSS on YouTube:

CSS put their third album, La Liberación (2011), on call to support Cansei de Ser Sexy (2005), and the band presented five tunes from that very good record. “Fuck Everything,” played in the first half of the show, may sound nihilistic, but it actually an ode to “no responsibilities” and partying with your friends. And the surprisingly tough but tender invulnerability of “City Grrrl” shifted the mood with its “do or die” ethos.

The biggest surprise of the night for me came in the middle of the show when CSS performed a cover of “Hollywood” by Madonna, which the band originally recorded as a track on their 2004 EP, Em Rotterdam Já É Uma Febre. That EP made another surprise appearance when CSS added the EP track “I Wanna Be Your J.Lo” to the middle of the encore. So rarely performed, it almost seemed like a new song, but as I mentioned in the beginning, CSS returned with no new music but plenty of welcome attitude.

Thought the show, Lovefoxxx bantered, tossed her hair, rocked down to the ground, and sang to the ceiling as she shined brightly from the stage. She was having the time of her life sharing the stage with her friends and bandmates — Luiza Sá, Ana Rezende, and Carolina Parram.

CSS also played “Art Bitch” from their debut album in the encore to the satisfaction of their DC audience. The bitingly funny sendup was part of our introduction to CSS when DC9 adopted the band as video staples for its Liberation Dance Party 20 years ago, and so maybe our city was a bit more eager for it than some others!

At the end of the day, the show was a smashing success by any measure, and it left us hoping that CSS might record some new material and hit the road again soon.

Catch CSS on their 20th anniversary tour!

Here are a few photos of CSS performing at Black Cat on May 3, 2024. Pictures by Mickey McCarter.


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