A little bit of Bollywood came to 14th Street Tuesday when Joi performed at the Metro Cafe. To be sure, the sound of Indian movie musicals was filtered through the vigorous beats of London's club scene, yet its influence on the Anglo-Indian ethno-techno group's style was unmistakable.
Joi is essentially the sibling duo of Farook and Haroon Shamsher, but they stood at the back of the small stage, their electronic gear swathed in orange fabric. Up front were Lahcen Lahbib, who played congas and bongos (but not the tabla, the traditional Indian drum), and guitarist Vik Sharma, whose contributions mostly seemed negligible. For about half the songs, this foursome was joined by Susheela Raman, whose arm-waving, belly-rolling dances were as fluid as the Shamsher brothers' moves were endearingly awkward.
Raman also sang such songs as "Asian Vibes" and "Oh My People," her agile voice dispatching intricate Indian melodies to spiral over the group's machine-generated rhythms. Joi's sound was harder-hitting and less atmospheric than on its excellent recent album, "One & One Is One," emphasizing the sheer floor-quaking power of electronic breakbeats. But when Raman sang, the music became as ethereal as it was physical.