Rock 'n' roll shows are not typically interactive events. There are those folks who stand like beer-imbibing mannequins far enough from the stage that they don't look interested. There's always That Guy who likes to invade everyone's unspoken personal space while perfecting the Drunk Sway, eliciting glares from the hipper-than-thou. And then there are just the head-bobbers and toe-tappers standing in groups. But last October, a band came to Miami that had Churchill's packed to capacity. And guess what? Everyone was moving like they had ants in their pants. Who doesn't love a band that adds real handclaps to its songs and kicks out a good-natured crowd sing-along? Washington, D.C.'s Q and Not U caused that beautiful scene, and they may have also caused music critics and journalists to create a dictionary of obtuse terms to describe their music. Q and Not U is a sonic crossword puzzle, a cacophony of minor chord picking, ape-fisted drumbeats, and vocal chords that seem like they've been force-fed gravel and honey at the same time.
Bassist and vocalist Christopher Richards, guitarist Harris Klahr, and drummer John Davis play music that almost shouldn't be allowed a label. So, as you may have guessed, QANU are on Dischord, the DC indie label that's home to Fugazi. "I knew Ian MacKaye [founder of Dischord] from my high school band," Davis explains. "He started recording Q and Not U in the studio and decided to put out our records. It was a pretty slow and casual process. The scene in D.C. is very strong. Scenes go in waves, and we're at a good point right now."
Dischord released No Kill No Beep Beep in 2000 and Different Damage in 2002. Both albums took an allowance from their punk-rock forefathers, but there is something else. Q and Not are fun. Their oeuvre is dance music for poets, hipsters, fuck-ups, and geeks. And now QANU is on its way to the Sunshine State once again. "Florida is one of our favorite places to play in the country," Davis says. "It was one of the earliest places we did well in." So get up and check out this amazing show before Florida falls into the ocean. Q and Not U, along with fellow D.C. bands Black Eyes and French Toast, plays I/O Lounge, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Show starts at 8 p.m. and costs $8. Call 305-358-8007. -- Audra Schroeder
I'm So Wasted!
Holy keg stand! It's the Volkswagen Music Education Tour, and it's speeding into Florida Atlantic University (777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton). Everyone knows that fresh-faced college kids and Jettas go together like Bagel Bites and bong hits. And what better music to be the soundtrack to college life than the Ataris and Vendetta Red? Check out the tour, grab some "munchies," play X-Box, and sign up to be on MTV's new reality TV show, Who Wants to Adopt a Frat Boy? Show costs $7 for students, $12 for the public. Call 561-297-3000. -- Audra Schroeder
Queens of South Africa
One of South Africa's greatest female singing groups hits the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Mahotella Queens, made up of Hilda Tloubatla, Mildred Mangxola, and Nobesuthu Mbadu, first surfaced as a session group in South Africa in the 1960s before gaining more widespread acclaim in the 1970s. Anyone who likes the backup vocals on Paul Simon's Graceland or the music from The Lion King will dig this show. Tickets cost $30. Call 954-462-0222. -- Dan Sweeney
The dance season kicks into full swing this week as several international dance troupes put in a South Florida appearance. Perhaps the most notable of these is Sakoba Dance Theater, a contemporary-dance company out of Britain that blends modern dance with African traditions. The group's founder and artistic director, Bode Lawal, knows whereof he speaks when it comes to African traditions -- the native of Nigeria is the son of a Yoruba chief. Sakoba Dance Theater makes its Hollywood premiere at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (1770 Monroe St., Hollywood) at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost $12 to $15. Call 954-921-3274. -- Dan Sweeney