Mariza at Lisner
Fado music is often referred to as Portuguese blues -- filled with sorrowful lyrics, African-slave-derived rhythms and minor-key melodies that touch on flamenco and Arabic music. Thursday at Lisner Auditorium, the striking Portuguese singer Mariza and her powerful contralto voice performed 17 songs, each one a rich mini-drama. You'd have to watch Telemundo to see such overtly demonstrative theater.
Backed primarily by the oud-like Portuguese guitar, classical guitar and acoustic-electric bass, Mariza sang of death, lost loves and longing while also dealing with a mean case of the sniffles. She displayed a keen sense of humor with her stage banter. During the upbeat, popular folk song "Uma Casa Portuguesa," long associated with fado's queen, Amalia Rodrigues, Mariza had the Portuguese nationals jumping out of their seats. During a breakdown in the tune, she heard kissing noises from the percussionist, so she gave him a stern look and a gentle verbal chastising. Then Mariza started to blow loud, extremely noisy kisses to the audience with all the messy fervor of a 2-year-old. It's no wonder she is fast becoming fado's leading ambassador.
-- Christopher Porter
Trina at Crossroads
To the untrained eye, Miami rapper Trina appears to owe the whole of her success to the bump beneath the back pockets of her designer denims. Her rear tends to attract more attention than her raps, and, by flaunting her physique and referencing it in her lyrics, she does little to resist such objectification.
But if you think that the former exotic dancer is nothing more than a stripper who has added some rhymes to her act, then, to quote the "Diamond Princess" herself, "you don't know nann."
Trina's trademark is berating men over bouncy Miami-bass-tinged production, and at Crossroads on Thursday night she lobbed verse after venomous verse at slobbering men who eagerly soaked up assaults on their virility and financial stability.
She got through several songs, including the gritty funk of "Hustling," without incident, but eventually her smart-mouthed sexuality sparked minor chaos.
A man was tossed out of the club for twice trying to touch the Queen of Miami as she recited, "I would give you my number so you could have this / But I don't need the stalkin' prank calls or the madness," from her verse on Louisiana rapper Webbie's "Bad Chick" remix.
Men threw dollar bills in the air as she performed her 2002 Ludacris duet "BR Right," and after she wrapped things up with a sampling from her third and latest album, "Glamorest Life," the most daring "gentlemen" rushed outside and then ran behind her tour bus as it pulled out of the parking lot.
-- Sarah Godfrey
Fall Out Boy at 9:30
If Fall Out Boy fails to distinguish itself from countless pop-punk-emo peers on a musical basis, the band's song titles might do the trick: "I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me" and "A Little Less 'Sixteen Candles,' A Little More 'Touch Me' " are two typical examples.
It was easy to distinguish FOB from the four other bands that played the sold-out 9:30 club Thursday, however, not only because it had the most teenage girls screaming along with its songs, but also because the band had the best outfits. The Chicago foursome were decked out in khakis, blazers and ties for the first half of their tiresome set. Angus Young tribute or not, they vamped like the coolest boys in school.
Bassist Pete Wentz announced that he hoped "we're more than just a cool name on a T-shirt to you," and fair enough, Fall Out Boy does play music. But most of what singer-guitarist Patrick Stump managed to convey over the hormonal din -- how they manage to scream and text-message on cell phones at the same time is amazing -- offered no surprises. Even FOB's best efforts ("Sugar, I'm Going Down" and "XO") were essentially swamped by sloppy playing and the band's frenzied histrionics. If nothing else, the messy live show, silly clothes and too-typical songwriting certainly don't seem to be hurting "From Under the Cork Tree," the new Fall Out Boy album: It was certified platinum this week.
-- Patrick Foster