Xingolati: The Groove Cruise of the Pacific

From spring of 2003 until my graduation in May 2006, I wrote many articles for several sections of my college newspaper, the Los Angeles Loyolan. Here's one of my Arts & Entertainment articles.
Xingolati: The Groove Cruise of the Pacific

Mark J. Lehman
A & E Editor

Originally Published: Friday, October 7, 2005

Imagine yourself on a Carnival cruise, shipping out from the port of Long Beach for a weekend of hot tubs, spa treatments, and all the surf and turf you can eat. On the way to the on-deck pool, you strike up a conversation about museums in Spain with a somewhat oddly-dressed fellow, and only after the on-board concert three hours later do you realize said fellow is the lead singer of The Flaming Lips.

You've just finished imagining what Mark McLarry wants to make a reality with the concert cruise he is producing, Xingolati-Groove Cruise of the Pacific.

The key phrase here, according to McLarry, is the "blending of worlds." McLarry explained, "When this idea was brought to us, we were trying to find a unique venue that could support what we were trying to do, which is what we like to call 'the blending of world'-live music with theatrics. We were looking at everything from Pac Bell's parking lot where they set up Cirque de Soleil, and we were thinking 'Well, let's set up a circus tent and do a show like that.'"

As soon as someone thought of having the festival on a cruise ship, "that's when the light bulb went off and we said, 'There's the ultimate venue,'" McLarry recalled.

The concert boasts 25 bands and performance groups with an eclectic and diverse range, from The Flaming Lips to G-Love, and several different DJs.

"We probably approached 30 to 35 bands, and we confirmed 25," clarified McLarry. "One of the biggest tasks and one of the things that made this kind of difficult was first finding the right bands and then making it fit into their schedules.

"If there was one hurdle, it was definitely the booking fees," McLarry continued. "Since this is a first year event, it was important that we sell [the performers] on this event and let them know that this is going to be one of the most unique events out there."

There are also various events planned during the cruise, including a wine tasting and a Zaireeka party, in which the lead singer from The Flaming Lips plays four CDs together to make one synchronous sound.

One of the more bizarre/interesting ensembles on the cruise, Mutaytor, call themselves a combination of "the worlds of Blue Man Group and Cirque de Soleil." Matty Nash, the frontman and founder of Mutaytor, expounded on how he formed his group and what he hopes to gain from McLarry's concert cruise, Xingolati.

"We've been characterized as a futuristic vaudeville. We perform at a lot of corporate and civic events and it's a real wild stage show-very fast-moving and very dance-oriented, and we're very excited to work with the Xingolati cruise," he said.

When trying to enlighten people on what exactly goes into Mutaytor performances, Nash elucidated, "It's a modular show with a cast between 10 and 25 players that incorporates musical and visual elements such as spider dancing, aerial stunts, tribal dancing, martial arts and interactive video projections. It works well in smaller, more intimate venues as well as stadium size, and we create custom content for each performance."

Nash believes strongly in Xingolati and feels that Mutaytor's brand of performance will fit well with the eclectic and groundbreaking aspect of such a unique show. "The goal of Xingolati is to create an experience of music that has never been attempted, creating a new demographic for the cruise industry," Nash articulated. "The perception is that cruise ships and festivals are for the 40-plus age range-senior citizens doing shuffleboard and cocktail jazz. We're trying to dispel that myth by creating a really vibrant music festival on the water that caters to music fans and to a younger audience.

"Another goal for Mutaytor is collaboration and improvisation," Nash continued. "We do a lot of that anyway and the potential to collaborate with a lot of the other artists on board during concerts is going to be big. I'm really excited about the potential of rocking with some of the other groups aboard."

If there's one point that everyone seemed to agree on, it's that Xingolati is something brand new and never experienced before, yet something that will blow everyone away to such a degree that it will become a staple for years to come.

"This is going to be setting a precedent for a new kind of concert experience," said Nash excitedly. He pressed on enthusiastically, "This is really the first concert of its kind, so we're absolutely a beta tester to see if this will work. But if it's a success, I hope we can help bring this form of entertainment into the future."

McLarry concurred, "What makes this event really unique is the intimacy of it. A lot of these bands can only be seen at huge festivals with thousands of people, whereas in this case the biggest crowd of people you'll see is 2,000 people. Also, you can interact with the bands, since they're all out on that ship with you.

"We're taking all these different pieces, these different components," McLarry said, "so that people can experience a little bit of it all. To us, this will create the ultimate atmosphere, the blending of worlds."

For tickets and information, visit www.xingolati.com.
[via Los Angeles Loyolan: http://www.laloyolan.com/entertainment/1.399981]
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