Anyone familiar with Xiu Xiu’s music knows that frontman Jamie Stewart channels emotion through his songs like no other (this is, after all, the guy whose band takes its namesake from a film concerning Mao Tse-Tung's Cultural Revolution horrors). It follows, then, that seeing Stewart and Co. in the live setting involves a kind of awe that borders on unsettling at times.
Apparently, a Xiu Xiu performance is nothing compared to seeing Stewart live as a solo artist, which fans will have the opportunity to do come April. The Oakland, CA-based singer, guitarist, and songwriter announced plans today of an upcoming solo tour, and in true Stewart fashion, every element of the project is geared towards originality.
"Wherein the point of full-on band shows is to explode everything, I think the point of solo shows is to implode," Stewart explains. "There is still destruction, but less debris, [and] more black holes."
He'll be bursting inward on these dates, accompanied by a single electric guitar, bird-call whistles, a loop pedal, and a stylophone, which is a synth-like creation from the late '60s that one plays with a pen. Says Stewart, "It’s a challenge to try and make music with ridiculous objects."
He'll perform over 80 songs during the tour, including a few new goodies from a yet-to-be-released Xiu Xiu record.
That's just the music aspect though. Also up his sleeve is a photo project, in which Stewart, accompanied by frequent Xiu Xiu collaborator David Horvitz, will take photograph portraits of every single person at every single show—audience, sound guys, and promoters included. "'Why?' is answered by 'Hello, nice to meet you, why not?'" Stewart says, when asked for the reasoning behind this project. "On a big tour, there is always 100,000,000 tons of gear to deal with... so there is never time to do a detailed parallel project. These shows will all be very intimate and microscopic, so there is space to blow up the normal mode."
All photos will be posted to the Xiu Xiu blog. The best 300 will be published in a forthcoming book. And while you might want to dash into the bathroom to powder your nose before your turn in front of the lens, Stewart and Horvitz have your hair covered, as they'll be providing combs to all participants.
Schwag-wise, 10 different hand-decorated mix CDs will be available, along with a poster series of Stewart's stuffed animal collection.
04/02 Greenville, NC - The Spazzatorium
04/03 Norfolk, VA - The Boot
04/04 Richmond, VA - The Triple
04/05 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
04/06 Brooklyn, NY - Monkey Town
04/09 Durham, NH - The Stafford Room
04/10 Chicago, IL - Ronny's Bar
04/11 Grinnell, IA - Gardner Lounge @ Grinnell College
04/14 Seattle, WA - The Vera Project
04/15 Portland, OR - Backspace
04/17 San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord
04/18 Los Angeles, CA - Echo Curio
04/19 Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture
04/21 Austin, TX - Salvage Vanguard Theater
04/23 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
04/24 St. Augustine, FL - Cafe Eleven
04/25 Atlanta, GA - WonderRoot
Video: Xiu Xiu - "F.T.W."
Photo by Mathew Scott.