Dengue Fever

SXSW live shot

Dengue Fever

Carribean Lights, Thursday, March 16

Cambodian songstress Chhom Nimol, Dengue Fever's singer, couldn't be blamed for fanning herself before the band's 1am showcase. In the midnight slot, Brazil's Lenine absolutely cooked the place with a tropical funk-rock blowtorch. Not that it mattered; Dengue Fever's Mekong-meets-Memphis sound emits its own steam. Nimol burst out of the gates with a chimey, PA-stretching, solo vocal prologue, just in case folks weren't familiar with her peerless pipes. The other five group members, meanwhile, cooked up a funky, jazz-inflected, space-rock backdrop for the petite chanteuse's chill-inducing vocal flights and glass elevator falsettos. The tenor saxing of David Ralicke (Ozomatli, Beck) drew from Eddie Harris to Ethiopiques, joining cracking drums, funk-dub bass, chicken-scratch guitar, and Farfisa organ. Pulling from their 2003 eponymous debut, as well as from last year's even better Escape From Dragon House (M80/Birdman), the band closed with "One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula," an upbeat Dragon House number, here rendered faster and more epically. Dengue Fever: the best way to close KUT's second successful year of "All Music is World Music."

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