David Yow, Bellowing on Qui
It seems fitting that Los Angeles noise-rock trio Qui introduced itself Friday night at Iota as "Fugazi Osbourne." The former was a winking reference to Ian MacKaye's presence at the foot of the stage, and the latter was perhaps an allusion to new Qui member David Yow, who was well known for his stage antics in the Jesus Lizard.
(Yow's antics mostly included nudity and crowd-surfing, though; nothing as controversial as the doings of Ozzy O., the former Black Sabbath frontman.)
Yow's stage presence has mellowed over the years, but his voice hasn't lost its edge; his bellow on "Today, Gestation" and "Freeze" recalled the raucousness of his earlier band.
He did show remarkable versatility, though, with his melodic whisper on "A #1" joined by the surprisingly melodic harmonies of guitarist Matt Cronk. While Yow strutted and ranted throughout the 50-minute set, the band wasn't always just about him: The instrumental first half of "New Orleans" found Cronk and drummer Paul Christensen creating a bluesy sludge that wasn't wanting for vocals.
Mid-set, Yow climbed up on a platform and sat cross-legged to watch his band-mates play "Apartment."
The song was one of the heavier, denser numbers of the night, but Cronk's back-turned performance and Christensen's uncaptivating vocals showed by contrast how much more engaging the group is with the addition of such a dynamic frontman.
-- Catherine P. Lewis
.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 15 October 2007; Page C07