ELECTROCLASH 2002 at Tequila Lounge, October 15. Tickets: $15. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNN
We may well remember 2002 as the year electroclash blew up. With bands like A.R.E. Weapons and Fischerspooner leading the slick punk-meets-electro-tech charge, the genre sparked by last year's version of NYC DJ Larry Tee's tour has been the subject of a burgeoning wave of hipster hype. This year's tour touched down at Tequila Lounge last Tuesday night.
The hype's hollow. Like one of those larger-than-life chocolate Easter bunnies, once you crack the sweet retro-swank surface, you're left with something soulless. After almost six hours of coyly ironic new-wave techno grooves served up by a slew of rough 'n' ready ladies (and one flaccid boy), the diverse bands on the bill dissolved into a blur of mind-numbing sameness.
Ex-Torontonian-turned-Berlin-boy Taylor Savvy, a tongue-in-cheek Remy Shand-style crooner (wearing a suit in place of Shand's trademark toque), whined mock-Casanova serenades over cheesy canned beats. Savvy's shtick, which included bringing a lucky lady onstage to bust some moves, grew tired too soon.
Similarly, trio W.I.T. (What It Takes), a 2002 take on the prefab girl groups of the 60s, came off as lame eye candy. I've seen better hair, outfits and lip-synching at any Monday-night drag show in Boystown.
The crowd (a weird mix of well-dressed art scenesters and frat boys) roared for Tracy & the Plastics, the post-Riot Grrl music/video extravaganza of Olympia darling Wynne Greenwood. As alter ego Tracy, a yowling, moody girl-punk goddess, she riffed off onscreen bandmates Nikki and Cola (also portrayed by Greenwood), a pair of Valley Girl dyke lovebirds. It may have seemed inspired in the sea of spectacle-over-substance electro-sameness, but it lacked energy compared to Tracy & the Plastics' over-the-top performance opening for Le Tigre two summers ago.
Eurotrash anti-capitalist fashionistas Chicks on Speed also disappointed after blowing minds last time they were in town. Maybe it was the technical glitches that drove the robotic momentum of their percussive techno grooves into the ground; maybe it was the testosterone-oozing assholes who were thrown out after heckling relentlessly. Either way, the set seemed half-hearted -- the ladies greeted the audience with a bored, "How you doin', Montreal?"
By 1:30 in the morning, the initially suffocating crowd had cleared out, although there were enough disciples to catch hometown hero and raunch- rawk queen Peaches as she crowd-surfed through her set. Between "vomiting" blood into the front row, ordering hapless fans to lick her boots, gyrating on the speakers and tantalizing with a hot-pink dildo, Peaches delivered sort of.
Her set was amusing -- grinding to a loop of Joan Jett's Bad Reputation was cute -- but while Peaches' sexy purr is orgasmic, her stuttering bass-tech assault was just dull after hours of listening to the cheaper imitations leading up to it.