Shivaree with Tony Malone and Cam MacInnes at Lula Lounge, February 17. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 200. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
With a name like Ambrosia Parsley , you're destined to be either a porn star or a lounge singer. Last Thursday Shivaree 's vixen songstress gave everyone a bit of both worlds.
Looking around the packed Lula Lounge for somewhere to sit, I realized that the dozen awkwardly placed plastic chairs beside the waiter's stand in the far back corner were for us non-dinner folk who just came to see the band.
As uninviting as this sounds, when the rice paper lanterns were turned down to a mere glow, Parsley led her bohemian ensemble onstage and managed to tear the attention of the middle-aged audience away from their New Zealand snapper.
The short but sweet set oozed sex as the aroused diners got hot and bothered by her breathy, smouldering, sex-kitten purr. The delicate brush sweeps of the drums and tantalizing plucks from Duke McVinnie 's guitar turned Lula into an adults-only bar. Who needs Viagra when Shivaree can be the soundtrack to your parents' rejuvenated sex lives? Seriously, it was that steamin' in there.
Coyly sipping from her brandy glass, Parsley's in-between-song devilish banter about dead boyfriends and enraged femme fatale grandmothers could have been a narrative for a Raymond Chandler noir. The saloon-style poetry and waltzy cabaret jazz mimicked the likes of Tom Waits and Billie Holiday.
Even Shivaree's experimental avant-rock flourishes and the whisky-gravel of McVinnie and Parsley's duet were captivating. However, more often than hoped, Parsley's voice broke into a candy-coated, almost cartoon version of Dolly Parton or Jewel. The fans drank it in as they clapped Shivaree into a double encore while the rest of the room finished their meals and went home to get it on.