CHERIE CURRIE at the El Mocambo, June 22. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 250. Rating: NNN
the last time cherie currie stood onstage at the El Mocambo, she hadn't even started menstruating. With her band, the Runaways, the 16-year-old was an archetype of pretty-girl feminism. Her voice put bubble gum into girl punk, and her legs in fishnets gave the football team hard-ons. She was a perfect paradox, a combination of pre-Reagan-era passion and West Coast ennui.
But after blowing out their collective 16 candles, the Runaways were burned out, left to drift into a respectable position on Rolling Stone's Most Influential Bands list. There were even rumours that Currie was working at Wal-Mart.
But no. Last Friday, Currie slunk onto the El Mocambo stage with the sexy grace of a teen just turned 41, her hair blond and tousled, her body taut and strangely adolescent.
She launched her set of Runaways covers with an overblown version of Crazy Noise, getting the crowd rocking, and when she settled the mob for a breathy version of Midnight Music, suddenly she was Marlene Dietrich in 1932.
From other angles she was an eerie Debbie Harry, just one notch naughtier. But mostly her voice soared to elegance, and by the time Cherry Bomb arrived, the crowd was hypnotized. The spell broke only when one queen yelled, "We all want to fuck you, Cherie."
At which she pulled down her shirt, exposing a pert nipple.
"There's your picture," she growled with a smile.