Le Tigre with shebang! and Tracy and the Plastics at Lee's Palace, August 21. Tickets: $12.50. Attendance: 500. Rating: NNNNN
packs of punk-rock dykes and in-die dudes desperately petitioned pedestrians for tickets and info, anything to get them one step closer to Le Tigre's performance artstravaganza at Lee's Palace.Inside, Lee's was packed, sweltering, and crackling with energy. The sweaty crowd was forced to literally sit on one another's laps to make room for local b-girls shebang!, who delivered a too-short routine to an eclectic mix of tracks including pioneering female MC Roxanne Shanté's old-school classic Roxanne's Revenge.
Video disco outfit Tracy and the Plastics maintained the "you go, girl!" vibe. The "group" -- actually the talented Wynne Greenwood doing triple duty as frontwoman Tracy and her onscreen sidekicks, flaky Valley Girl keyboardist Nikki and outspoken activist Cola -- delivered a thoroughly entertaining multimedia set. Greenwood traded pre-recorded quips with her celluloid alter egos and bleated (in a voice strikingly reminiscent of Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker) over lo-fi beats and keyboard samples, all synched with experimental and often bizarre art films projected on the onstage screen.
When Le Tigre took the stage, the dynamic trio of Kathleen Hanna, Johanna Fateman and J.D. Samson, decked out in sequined hot-pink leotards like some sort of twisted figure skating ensemble, gave a dazzling, no-holds-barred performance, a combination slide show, dance routine, punk concert and feminist history lesson.
Samson, Hanna and Fateman were kinetic dynamos onstage, trading instruments and lead vocal duties, diddling the sampler and using decidedly lo-fi megaphones to create distortion. Newer tracks like FYR and Yr Critique and the self-help mantra Keep On Living had a truer garage-rock flavour, with hand-claps and classic call-and-response choruses.
Hanna held the crowd in thrall, whether she was riffing on guitar, skipping rope (as she did during the encore of Deceptacon) or delivering a testimonial to her artistic heroes (including local artist G.B. Jones, Homocore writer and member of quintessential chick-punk band Fifth Column).
By the time Le Tigre were done, lapsed Riotgrrrls and rave kids alike were ready to start a garage band or publish a zine.
Either way, you had to pity the fools who were left outside the club -- they obviously knew what they were missing.