David Incus, Solluna
United States of Mind
Saturday, Feb. 12
Imagine Indian food, chanting, tribal drumming, belly dancers and scantily clad women spinning firey torches on chains as they dance. Sound like a throwback to the fire worship of Zoroastrian Persia? Maybe something out of National Geographic or a PBS documentary? Actually, it was just another Saturday night at United States of Mind, and this time they set the night on fire - literally. Solluna opened with a flute and deep, booming frame drums. Two singers began chanting a Hindu melody, and then the dancers leaped up from the floor with torches in their hands. The man spun a staff, and the woman swung her torches on chains. She spun and twirled around in all sorts of dervish acrobatics, leaving yellow tracers and hoops all over the room. The torches flew dangerously close to her chest and even set off the fire alarm.
David Incus from Boston then lightened things up with his solo-piano songwriting. At times, he was the male counterpart to Tori Amos, throwing in a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." But with some satiric tunes like "If Bin Laden Had Fangs," he also resembled a cocktail lounge comedian. Picture Latin jazz with Bowie's "Aladdin Sane," and that almost sums it up - until he switched to accordion and invited Solluna and a belly dancer back-up for a 30-minute Mideast-inspired dancing session. He reverted to piano and invited Sarah Graub of the Undefeatable Beats to a vocal-improv session. If McCoy Tyner had met Billie Holliday, it may have sounded similar to this. The unrehearsed team went into a shining duet. Another torch dancer came up on the final song and set the night ablaze.