The Gossip with the Sick Lipstick at Lee's Palace, February 23. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 427. Rating: NNN
If Monday night was the Sick Lipstick's last show, as they kept announcing over and over, I hate to have to say this, but it's no great loss to the world of music. "This is torture!" singer Lindsey Gillard shrieked in her little-girly voice after the first attempt at the first tune. I wasn't sure whether she was introducing the song, referring to the horrible sound problems or commenting on the abilities of her band, but she was dead on. It was indeed torture.
Throughout the show, Gillard's grating high-pitched shouting, barely audible over the mess of keyboards, feedback and fuzz, made my skin crawl. Sure, she's a cute, spunky thing, but the noisy art rock no-wave onslaught left me begging for a few moments of peace and quiet.
The sound problems continued when the Gossip entered the room. Nathan Howdeshell 's guitar, strung as a bass, grated with a whack of unstoppable fuzz that, like the previous act, made it impossible to hear the vocals of the lead singer, in this case Beth Ditto .
Thankfully, things got ironed out a few tunes in, a good thing since Ditto has one of the best voices I've heard in a long time in the world of rock 'n' roll - throaty, sexy and so naturally suited to the blues, you feel it couldn't possibly have any other destiny, kind of like the way John Holmes's cock was destined for porn.
Their song structures are alarmingly simple, as blues are oft wont to be. But Ditto, saucy and hot in her oversized skin, is a commanding presence with her thick, honeyed pipes.
With the driving force of Ditto's vocals, the Gossip delivered a commendable set of blues punk rock. Though Howdeshell and drummer Kathy Mendonca are adept, without their singer the band would be merely so.
I'd been informed by an inside source that Ditto might get naked, but alas, this was not to be.
But it was still a good show.