On Saturday night at the Kitchen, Xiu Xiu covered selections from the show’s iconic score by Angelo Badalamenti, and it evoked that uncanny experience of watching an episode of Twin Peaks: The music was familiar, but the way it was played was not, and Xiu Xiu didn’t play any of their own music. Like the titular town of Twin Peaks, the stage was a bubble that we, the audience, were both privileged and perverse enough to stare into. Save for one song played so bombastically it was impossible not to applaud afterward, the only time we revealed ourselves was when the band bowed at the end. To do otherwise would have been to break a spell.
They opened with “Laura Palmer’s Theme” and played straight through their recent record Plays the Music of Twin Peaks. Shayna Dunkelman’s vibraphone anchored that first song, and many of the rest. I’ve never seen anyone perform vibraphone before, but Dunkelman made it into a dance, skimming her arms over the instrument as if she were casting spells, all the while shooting sultry glances at her bandmates (Twin Peaks character reference: Audrey Horne). As “Laura Palmer’s Theme” reached its syrupy climax, Jamie Stewart, seated behind a drum set, unleashed a single, furious pound onto his crash cymbal, and his bandmates unleashed torrents of noise. They took a piece of incidental music that sounds a little silly and made it into a real song you might want to actually listen to on your own time. — Zoe Leverant