by FoMVIENNA, Austria - I tend to pack in my trips with concerts and other performances, especially when I'm in a city as musical as Vienna. But, I always try to leave one night open as a wild card, in order to discover of some of the more off-the-beaten-track attractions. Which is what brought me last night to Rhiz: a bar/experimetal performance space along the Gürtel in Josefstadt, where peep shows stand side-by-side with alternative lounges. Located underneath the U-bahn arches, Rhiz has a real Rathskeller feel to it, its red brick walls tinged with a film of smoke (yes, you can still smoke indoors here in Vienna.) Along the glass walls, abstract videos played to passersby.
Onstage was local band Tricsson, playing an intoxicating, melancholy mashup of trip hop and downbeat jazz; when I arrived, they were in the middle of the slowest, most transfixing rendition of Cole Porter's "Under My Skin" I've ever heard. Vocalist Kathi Steidl - who sang in English - was like a cross between Portishead's Beth Gibbons and Marianne Faithfull, her low, sultry voice hovering just over Daniel Pabst's intricate, experimental guitar. Werner Leiner, who looked like a 19th century nobleman with his drooping mustache, switched back and forth between upright and electric bass while drummer Uwe Rostek unleashed all kinds of off-kilter beats.
Rhiz may lack the dripping gold and finery of some of Vienna's more notable music venues, but the music heard there commands no less rapt attention. As it should.
More pics on the photo page.