In this age of wan vocalizing and introspective frontmen backlit with a diffuse, inoffensive white bulb, the young Brazilian groups CSS and Bonde Do Role represent the sheer latex glide and punk-rock sugar shock of everything contrapuntal to Coldplay. The yang to their yin is the shamelessly party-rocking Diplo, enough of a cheeseball to drop the beat out and ask the crowd how they’re feeling tonight, enough of a seasoned showman to already know the answer. Put the three together, and you’re in for some nasty weather on the dancefloor - Bonde Do Role spark the night off, Marina and Pedro putting Bowie and Ronson to shame in the suggestive onstage antics category, while still reserving enough energy to inflame even the most tepid of crowds. Nobody in B-more is speaking a whiff of Portuguese, but it’s hardly an obstacle - the chunky bass and relentless energy of the singers speak for themselves.
CSS prove to be a bit of a surprise - the synth trappings of their debut album have been excised in favor of three (!) guitars and a boisterous live rawk sound, but by mid-set we’ve all been too seduced by their unabashed gleefulness to give a damn about expectations. By the time Diplo gets behind the wheels, the party is lubricated enough to slide on sandpaper. Not that this makes our boy play it safe - dropping up-to-the-minute acappellas (”Hustlin,” “Me and You,” “What You Know”) over breakbeats and samples from the Cure to Cashmere, it gets funkier and rowdier minute by minute. By night’s end the kids from Bonde Do Role and CSS have climbed back onstage, exhorting the crowd, pouring beer on each other, just generally making a mess and filming the whole damn thing (I’m checking Youtube as we speak). Plan on missing out on this circus? Consider yourself clowned.