Crackin' Chicks CHICKS ON SPEED with SLIT SLOT at the El Mocambo, April 14. Tickets: $9. Attendance: 260. Rating: NNN
the exclaim! party raging overat the Reverb did nothing to adversely affect the turnout for the Toronto debut of Berlin pomo pranksters Chicks on Speed. Actually, local openers Slit Slot proved more of a crowd-thinning threat than any competing multi-band extravaganza.
It took the juvenile rap-rock crew just a couple of tits 'n' dicks rhymes to clear the stage-front floor and alienate a good portion of the gathering. A few people shouted back insults, while those who could see through Slit Slot's blatant crowd-baiting antics just howled at them.
People pushed forward as soon as the mannequin-like Chicks marched in sporting torn shreds of a "limited edition" promo poster ($75) as conical headgear.
On the screen behind the threesome, looped film images of Japanese people taking photographs of the Chicks flashed as Alex Murray-Leslie fiddled with a mini-disc unit, Kiki Moorse tweaked an effects box and Melissa Logan coldly intoned her text.
Once the programmed 80s synth groove kicked in, the Chicks began hollering, hopping with arms flailing like a robotic Bananarama. That their performance amounted to jerky dancing and vocal embellishment of pre-recorded tracks didn't upset anyone, but then, it's doubtful whether many present had heard the Chicks' poorly distributed releases.
Their energy proved contagious. The head-nodding quickly became hip-shaking, and the hesitant applause that greeted the first few jams turned into enthusiastic cheers by the time the bouncing Chicks dialed up a blooping encore of the Normal's Warm Leatherette. A triumph of technology.