Firestone Live, Orlando, Fl • November 7, 2009
For an artist who has given her albums names like Fatherfucker and Impeach My Bush, and titled songs with such titillating phrases as “Tent in Your Pants” and “Diddle My Skiddle” one expects a certain amount of kitsch from her live show.
A diverse audience that finds drag queens mingling with goths and fresh faced college kids bumping shoulders with nearly nude exhibitionists should not come as a surprise to anyone buying a ticket either. Such is the strange, modern circus that surrounds the artist currently known as Peaches, and all those young & freaky at heart lined up eagerly for the metaphorical big top when it put down stakes at the newly renamed Firestone Live.
Arriving early, in time for electronic trio Men, turned out to be a mistake. Fronted by former Le Tigre member JD Samson the group came off as a college performance art piece on a low, low budget. Samson and guitarists Michael O’Neill and Ginger Brooks Takahashi were joined onstage by a pair of ladies holding large cardboard cut-out signs like raised fists, or hands that instructed “Fuck Your Best.” Its ridiculous inclusion in the stage show acted as a huge distraction to the actual music – which, from what I could gather, was a mashup between synth pop, disco, and club kid techno. Because of Samson’s previous involvement with the Kathleen Hanna-led Le Tigre, the bar had been set pretty high for this musical/art experiment of a band, and the reality was a huge disappointment.
Also a disappointment was headliner Peaches’ foray deeper into the heart of hip-hop grooves and further away from the hard driving electronic rock – complete with guitars – that her last album served up. The costume-conscious performer, whose opening art piece was a body-enveloping suit of tubes that put her appearance somewhere between Karen O and a character from Mad Max, must keep a set list for her clothing changes alongside that of her song list because she went through about a dozen different looks throughout the night. Every song brought with it a different look and, while the constant shape shifting could definitely be considered a distraction, it also served to keep the show lively.
‘Course who needs interesting outfits when you can just crowd surf your way into the hands, and hearts, of your fans? After sharing the spotlight with rapper Shunda K. of Yo Majesty on the hip hop heavy “Billionaire,” that’s exactly where she spent a good ten minutes’ time. Standing atop fans’ hands and rolling across heads and being felt up in every nook and cranny, Peaches was having a ball “connecting” with her fans. And the fans, I shouldn’t have to point out, were eating up every second of it – one girl went so far as to toss the singer her bra.
When she wasn’t spreading the love in the crowd she was a whirlybird of motion onstage, leaping off of the drum rise, canoodling with a pair of backup dancers, spinning around a phallic light saber-like contraption, and all the while spreading the teaches of Peaches to Orlando’s lads and ladies. It was a lusty techno party, with plenty of flesh and in-the-dark mayhem to be had. Nonetheless I stand firm in my belief that a little more of Peaches’ rock side, and a little less of the bass ‘n’ booty music, could have made an otherwise interesting show incredible.