Vocab:aret

October 11, Casba

4.5 stars

Rebelle’s Vocab night, held every second Tuesday at the Casba in Broad Ripple, is just about as old-school as it gets: a freeform jam of music, voice and dance. This time around, the theme turned towards the slightly naughty, with Vocab becoming Vocab:aret, courtesy of the talents of the burlesque troupe Creme de les Femmes.

Opening up were The Session Brothers and DJ Kyle Long. The Brothers warmed up over the last bit of Kyle Long’s set, and while I don’t think it was intentional, it all merged together in a pleasant jazzy kind of way. The Session Brothers are a pure '70s instrumental group performing the kind of music meant to be heard in a (literally) underground bar that could easily be mistaken for a basement. It's all wah-wah guitars and smooth rhythms. They’re the kind of bluesmen who seem to be engaging in ongoing conversations with instruments that have wills of their own. They set a nice pace for the evening with music to lose yourself in or converse by, depending on your mood.

And then came the burlesque! Burlesque's very nature adds to the mystique, since the ladies remain backstage prior to the show, do their routine, then quickly cover up before re-emerging to mingle in evening gowns or club clothes. Something about the mystique makes them a little bit incandescent; they draw attention to themselves not so much as objects of desire but as rock stars. Half the crowd wasn’t sure whether to flirt with them or to ask for their autographs.

Before and after, hostess Rebelle delivered introductions and performed some of her own spoken word, which was some of the most compelling of the night. The organized portion of the evening closed out with Spill and their unique combination of music, poetry and a bicycle as an instrument. Then came the open mic portion, which closed the anything-can-happen, unfiltered-but-friendly night.

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Kyle Long pens A Cultural Manifesto for NUVO Newsweekly and in 2014 began broadcasting a version of his column on WFYI.

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