LESBIANS ON ECSTASY as part of Vazaleen at Lee's Palace, December 31. Tickets: $10. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
The only way to start off a new year right is to show it who's the boss (apologies to Tony Danza and Judith Light).
That's why I was so pleased when, at 11:55 pm on December 31 a smoking Frosty the Snowman, a grumpy-looking Santa queen (or was she Jackie Frost?) and an adorably 80s sweatshirt-sporting Will Munro invited a host of volunteers onto the Lee's Palace stage to have their way with Baby New Year.
Six brave souls climbed over a sea of faces blowing horns and hands holding noisemakers and, when the clock finally struck midnight, a nekkid oversized baby ass (complete with adult diaper) got spanked.
Luckily, neither Dick Clark nor Regis Philbin was in attendance.
It was hard to imagine how fast-rising Montreal sapphic revisionists and sometime Le Tigre cohorts Lesbians on Ecstasy could top the spectacle. When charismatic frontwoman Fruity Frankie appeared onstage clad head to toe in sparkling white, followed by her bandmates in similar Kabbalah-esque gear, they seemed to be relying on the supreme power of white light to ward off evil spirits.
Remember the dandyish snowy suits worn by Ashton Kutcher and Madge - er, I mean Esther - in Britney's Me Against The Music video? The Lezzies on X do Keter so much better.
Any fears that the electro-punk crew were the latest casualties of the mystic influx were quelled when they launched into a twisted take on the Parachute Club classic Rise Up that proved they're the proponents of only their own perverse spiritual revival. Frankie fans will be pleased to learn that the foursome have cut down on the gimmicky effects-pedal D&D filters on the singer's vocals.
After tossing a bunch of glowsticks into the crowd and giving a girl down front a bouquet of flowers, they announced they were gonna "try something very special." While the beat went on, the band disappeared, minions tinkered with their gear, and the ladies returned in full rawk costumes.
Po-faced drummer Jackie Gallant ditched her retro Octapad for a drum kit, sturdy Véronique Mystique (wearing Seattle butch flannel, natch) started pounding out funk bass lines, and Frankie, posing in leather-daddy cap and gloves, shouted out a punk rock decimation of Auld Lang Syne before launching into a trashy take on Talkin' 'Bout A Revolution.
As a concept, it's hard to take the Lezzies seriously (evil house revamps of tunes from the lesbo canon?), but oddly enough, they make it work. Part of the trick is that they're a surprisingly talented band.
Bespectacled programsel (think programmer + damsel) Bernie Bankrupt , who bounces behind her iMac-slash-keyboard set-up, may come off as the (evil) brains behind the operation, but the Lesbians would be little more than a clever-clever cover band without the insane energy and captivating stage presence of Frankie (aka Montreal DJ Lynne T ). She's the bridge between their appropriation of the better aspects of rave culture (the delirious dancing, the primal pulse, the utter lack of embodied self-consciousness) and the dirty, sexy attitude of rock 'n' roll.
And, dude, how often do you watch a band completely reinvent their aesthetic over the course of a single set? Fucking impressive.