Arto Lindsay first came to prominence with seminal NYC-based no wave group DNA in the late 70s, featured on the Brian Eno-produced No New York compilation which came to be one of the defining documents of the genre. After stints playing on the first album by The Lounge Lizards and the first two albums by The Golden Palominos, and as a member of dance pop group Ambitious Lovers, Lindsay went solo, heavily adopting the Tropicália influences that he had picked up during time spent living in Brazil. Lindsay released several albums under his own name throughout the 90s, but after 2004’s Salt he seemed to almost disappear from the scene. That finally changed this year with the release of his first album in 13 years, Cuidado Madame, a strong return that ranks easily amongst his best work. A rare tour for the album brought him to play in DC at the Black Cat.
Lindsay and his band – bassist Melvin Gibbs, keyboardist Paul Wilson, and drummer Kassa Overall – played a strong set consisting of both new and older material. Lindsay’s angular, often percussive style of guitar playing presented a stark contrast to his laid back, almost loungey vocals. Particularly impressive was Gibbs, a long-time collaborator with Lindsay, who frequently took on melodic lines, playing his five-string bass like a guitar. From the almost straight-up Tropicália of “Simply Are,” to the glitchy electronica of “Illuminated,” to the more experimental side of tracks such as “Tangles,” the show took fans old and new on a tour of Arto Lindsay’s world.
Co-headlining with Lindsay were DC’s own Beauty Pill, a band which also disappeared for a decade before returning with their masterful Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are in 2015. Bandleader Chad Clark has acknowledged Lindsay’s influence on him, and the band even covered a song by Lindsay, “The Prize” (a cover which they played at the show, in fact) on that most recent album. The band played an eight-song set drawn mostly from it, including “Ain’t a Jury in the World Gon’ Convict You, Baby,” “Exit Without Saving,” and “Afrikaner Barista,” along with one older track, “Lifeguard in Wintertime” from 2004’s The Unsustainable Lifestyle.
Washington, DC's Br'er, featuring members of Stronger Sex, opened.