Elastica with Peaches & Gonzales
October 01, 2000
Tonight\’s concert is a prime example of indie hipster cool. With today\’s indie cred, you can\’t be hipster cool unless you\’re a total social reject. You can be an in-the-closet reject and hide the fact as much as possible, or you can be a wear-it-on-your-sleeve-like-a-badge reject, like Peaches and Gonzales.
Peaches and Gonzales are what happens when social rejects get tired of pop culture\’s followers dictating life and take mainstream entertainment into their own hands. P&G are Steve Urkel meets Pat Benatar meets Vanilla Ice meets Johnny Rotten meets 2 Live Crew meets Yoko Ono meets Olivia Newton John meets Laurie Anderson. On speed. In the backwoods of Canada.
Amazingly, this is a good thing.
Performing an hour long set, armed only with two microphones, a Roland MC505 groovebox and guitar that\’s only used for one song, Peaches and Gonzales manage to rock the house with their common themed songs. Yes kiddies, sex is tonight\’s topic, and P&G play it well. Gonzales sweating in his track suit, towering over the petite Peaches in her pink spandex body suit with white vinyl go-go boots that would have made the Material Girl-era Madonna proud… these aren\’t images we generally consider to be sexy. In fact, these are images we might just see as being a bit grotesque. Their performance however, would suggest otherwise.
From \”Lovertits\” to \”Fuck The Pain Away\” off of Peaches\’ debut album The Teaches Of Peaches, Peaches and Gonzales chant, dance, strip, stick microphones down their trousers, and generally have a good time. Peaches\’ lyrics are as empowering as any riot grrrl\’s, and her moves as naughty as a Fly Girl. Gonzales, not to be outdone, takes the stance of a New York B-boy/MC, and glares down the three clueless audience members who are just not getting it. Johnny Rotten couldn\’t have done better himself.
Throughout the set audience members chant along, jump up and down, wave their hands in the air and laugh at the joke… or is it a joke? Do Peaches and Gonzales take themselves seriously? We may never know, but that certainly doesn\’t phase us.
Spotted mid-audience was the wildly dancing Justine Frischmann. Only she proved to have enough lack of inhibition to give Peaches and Gonzales the audience reaction they deserved.
Unfortunately this may explain Elastica\’s all too brief set, a half an hour later. A hoarse and bedraggled Frischmann, wearing baggy jeans, running shoes and an oversized tanktop took to the stage with her fellow bandmates – Mew (keyboards, vocals, pogo kid), Annie Holland (bass), Justin Welch (drums), Dave Bush (keyboards) and Paul Jones (guitar) – amidst a rabid fan reaction. The Menace, the first U.S. Elastica release in five years, was only released a week ago to much critical acclaim and no radio play whatsoever. But that stopeth not Elastica fans.
A 17 song set with one new song (the excessively fast \”The Bitch Don\’t Work\”) and three covers (Trio\’s \”Da Da Da\”, ESG\’s \”Moody\” and Wire\’s \”12XU\”), Elastica breeze through each, barely allowing two minutes to a song. The set consists mostly of songs off Elastica\’s self titled 1995 debut – songs that receive a roaring response from the overeager audience.
Songs like \”Vaseline\” and \”Car Song\” get a few lyric changes by Frischmann, often substituting old lyrics (\”there may lurk a Peter Fonda\”) with new ones (\”there may lurk a Gonzales\”). \”Connection\” is played almost with a sense of disgust, the chorus being substituted by Frischmann with \”oh bollocks\”. \”Annie\”, with Annie\’s precense on stage becomes a whole new song, clocking in at under a minute, but that doesn\’t phase the all too ecstatic fans as they jump away and pump their fists in the air to the beat.
Songs off The Menace get similar treatment; slick studio licks on the album turn into gruff, scruffy and abbreviated songs live. \”Generator\” doubles the tempo to become a three chord punk song, lyrics shouted with glee. \”Mad Dog\” receives the same treatment, and is the best received new song, with the audience pogoing like mad. Three young gay men in the front beg for \”Human\” all throughout the set, and when finally delivered they lean over the stage as far as possible, singing along at full volume.
An hour of punkpop perfection, five years in the making. All of it well worth the wait.