First, there was the lone dancer, flailing arrhythmically in the dark, his excitement sending him into walls and patrons and finally against the photographer, her eyes startled wide, yet not so large as the pupils of her assailant. The words, Whose Jizz Is This, were written in bold across his singlet, but there was no question there, and no regret on his face as he apologised and removed his hand from the photographer’s breast. Innocuous indie-lobby music wafted around the Hi-Fi’s musty tiers and did little to the silence. The first support was yet to arrive.
Then they were there, MKO and her band, grafted suddenly to the stage and spliced so delicately into the ambience, it seemed as if they materialised there at a different rate for everybody. They drifted under a red gel haze for a few songs, until the spots came up to show them off. There were six of them in all and four keyboards between them. Even the drummer, looking aggressively bored, had an electronic drum pad. The backup singers used only their voices and mirrored expressions of wonderment they shared covertly in the pauses. They broke occasionally and MKO would draw them back together with something like slam recitations that grew each time into a unique synthetic amble.
After they left, the crowd thickened and paid attention only to itself. Save for the frothing ardour of the diehards clumped against the stage, the room was ambivalent. when the curtain drew back again, taking a microphone with it, Monster Zoku Onsomb stood poised with the restless restraint of a school kid on photo day and sprang into their set with the same sense of joyous release. Two female leads dressed like ziggy stardust gymnasts with abusive t-shirts, a guitar wielding luchador and twin fluro-trashmen manning laptops like strategists, somehow all coordinated. It was lurid somehow, like watching an 80s battle of the bands throw up on a wrestling match staged at a rave. The crowd eddied around the spectacle, a TISM dreams The Prodigy experience, and gawped enthusiastically. Attention made the band’s fervour bloom into an abandonment of instruments and led them climactically into almost syncopated dancing that could have been mistaken for choreography. They bowed out with a jester’s satisfaction and the room expressed its gratitude.
Outside, the lone dancer crouches in the dark, yelling abuse into the street and trying vainly to menace anyone interested. Nobody noticed, the crowd was unified in its goals, a dense mass fidgeting in the dark, its myriad voices rising like fumes of anticipation. When they were ready, there was Peaches. She stood centre stage, raised on a platform like an ikon, dressed for the time elvis was a power rangers villain. The crowd was overjoyed. Peaches sprang to life and off the platform, she pranced keenly, paced the stage and waved them on, already demanding more. The tramping took her behind a set of digital turntables that had been lurking at the back, she flipped the beat, repeated her parade and congratulated ‘Brisvegas’ on the virtue of its being. The crowd had been bought.
Her first act was not really introduction, ‘Why don’t you talk to me’ was her querulous inquiry to an opposing pair of cross-dressing dancers in scintillating leathers. It was the start of many hopeful transgressions; Adam, Eve and a fruit of temptation, together at the genesis of escalation. Peaches began her transformation right there on stage, shedding her layers about for supplicating roadies to gather and stow in swift consecration. She emerged in a leotard encased in golden handprints like an inverse midas. The dancers returned as body horror mockeries, giant felt renditions of Cronenbergian vaginas. They flapped and convulsed while Peaches brayed over intimate plastic surgery.
The intervals return her each time to the turntables, minute adjustments and the induction of the next piece. she never misses a chance to sing and dives into each lyric with deft though almost absent precision, as though the beats weren’t just programmed by machines but pre-recorded in her mind. After the vaginas were swept away, things flowed on with practiced discord, constantly morphing, spandex goat people beckon an octopus fur coat collared with mannequin hands into the tattered fabric garb of a lost tribe of haberdashers dancing where there wild things are.
Jockstraps and bondage and champagne showers, fetishes are alluded to, expressly shown and artistically interpreted. The crowd press the stage constantly and claw for her with unashamedly eager paws. She lets them have her in increments; at one time she walks above them, buoyed by a sea of gripping hands; in another, she nests inside an inflated phallus and writhes in safety, brazenly crooning for a dick in the air. Once, she flagellates a dancer in a seeming breakbeat trance who proceeds to light himself on fire, the stench of burning hair filters through the miasma of sweat and aggravated sexual tension.
Everything builds until it pointedly stops. Peaches proclaims a break to shill her merchandise on stage. Her and the dancers don matching camouflage fanny packs while the secret hands pack the stage with cartons full of shirts. ‘Only thirty dollars,’ she yells, but the sound is exit through the gift shop. One man holds a fifty in the air and watches as Peaches rub her pussy on his choice of clothing. ‘I hope you like my vagina sweat,’ she yells, gleeful even as the money disappears. After twenty awkwardly bartered minutes, she throws another song into the stunned confusion of the crowd. Playing for thanks but falling hollowly short, she finishes quickly, packs her toys into a bag and walks the lot off stage.
Looking for all the world like a pornographic ring-master, by the time she comes back bare-breasted for her encore, the crowd has waned and are already dispersing, all of them wearing individual faces of vague post-coital disappointment, their revenant spell broken viciously over the back of capitalism. Peaches was already over.