I am at the Caravan Lounge in San Jose, the darkest, smallest public space I have ever visited. I am surrounded by black T-shirts, black denim jeans and black leather jackets. A singer at the other end of the bar is screaming over the noise of two extremely amplified electric guitars and a snare drum set. I have earplugs in my ears, but the vibration of the bass guitar is still rattling my breastbone and echoing in my shoulder blades. I am wearing black slacks and a black T-shirt emblazoned with two skeletons, one of which is stabbing the other. My sister M is standing next to me wearing the same shirt. She turns to me with a wide grin and mouths above the din, “Isn’t this great?”
I am here basically because my sister’s husband was brought up in Brazil. When M heard that a trio of Brazilian women musicians needed a place to stay while they recorded their next album, she and her husband volunteered their spare bedrooms, expecting perhaps a nice string trio. Instead they got Nervosa, an up-and-coming Brazilian thrash metal band.