Ashlee Simpson with the Click Five and Pepper's Ghost at Massey Hall, March 13. Tickets: $39.50-$55. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Poor Ashlee Simpson will always be better known to anyone who isn't a 14-year-old girl for just about anything but her musical endeavours.
She was first brought to your attention as the younger sister of Jessica, who's known more for her reality show, tits and bizarre spastic orgasm faces she makes when she sings than for her actual singing. Oh yeah? Name one Jessica Simpson song. I didn't think so.
Ashlee Simpson later became even better-known after that little lip-synching debacle on Saturday Night Live, which gave folks an excuse to vilify her as a poser. That's right. Let's place the blame for the entire lip-synching industry on the shoulders of a girl barely out of childhood. People are so fucking stupid.
And now she's going to be known as the face of, or rather the hair of, Thermasilk. But really. She does have fabulous hair, which is just as well, since Simpson's vocal talents are not astounding.
Lip-synching is still perfectly common - but no such luck Sunday at Massey Hall . I was kind of hoping she'd prove everyone all wrong by blowing us away, but, alas, Simpson's range is about six notes, maybe an octave. Beyond that her voice has to be masked by overloud instruments, excessive layered backups and reverb. At times she has to stop singing completely, like during her medley of 80s tunes, which included the Pretenders' Special and Blondie's Call Me, both really bad choices if you're trying to prove you can sing.
The hair looked like it was threatening to lose its shape and lustre at one point, but Simpson sat down just in time for a (very) little acoustic set and the hair had time to dry out. Thank god - it was touch and go there for a few minutes.
Supposedly the rock 'n' roll counterpart to her sister's adult contemporary slutty Pollyanna, the younger Simpson sings straight-ahead pop rock tunes with some distorted guitars. The band is edgily packaged and squeaky clean. The tunes about heartbreak and believing in yourself are easy for the little girls to sing along with. Simpson is actually cute as a button onstage and moves really well, though dressed like a JC Penney Steven Tyler.
She's completely pop and completely packaged, and the girls love her. I know this because they kept screaming, "We love you, Ashlee!" and it felt like it was right in my ear.
She did a little gyrating and writhing, her black thong peeking out the top of her pants, and I found it amusing that a young girl was doing this for a hall full of other young girls. The number of boys in the audience was, of course, negligible.
But then I remembered that's what little girls do. It's practice. Like kissing their pillows or dancing around in their underwear for each other at slumber parties. Either that or I was surrounded by thousands of budding lesbians.
Either way. Thermasilk.