GRAVY TRAIN!!!! with LE TIGRE and CANNONBALL JANE at the Guvernment, October 25. Tickets: $18-$20. Attendance: 1,000. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
The forbidding Guvernment/Kool Haus complex housed an odd pairing on Monday night. Heading for Kool Haus: Social Distortion's leather-swathed skinhead fans. At the Guvernment: quaking in their ironic-chic knee socks, Le Tigre 's queer-skewed all-ages revolutionaries.
Couldn't wait to get inside the Guvernment, where the early-bird Le Tigre fans looked bored while two teen dykes played tonsil hockey by a wall.
A weird dude in a mechanic's outfit feebly attempted to warm up the handful of kids in the room till one-woman electro-pop party Cannonball Jane skipped out, wearing a fetching beret and looking like Gilda Radner as a punk rock Roseanne Rosannadanna.
While the dude puzzled over his guitar, she grooved behind her Yamaha-sampler set-up, chirping repetitive choruses in between hooks swiped from the pop canon. Primarily a dance club, the Guvernment's sound system has wicked bass, and low-end samples like Lili Taylor reading from the SCUM Manifesto sounded OK, but Jane's vocals were muddy. The rap portions of her act seemed cool, but I'm basing that on rudimentary lip-reading skills.
The place was packed by the time Oakland's Gravy Train!!!! bum-rushed the stage - literally. While flame-haired Chunx screamed about boobies, dancing maniacs Junx and Funx went ape-shit, writhing behind their mic stands like Fly Girls gone mental. You couldn't take your eyes off muscled morsel Junx's tighty-whitey'd ass, whether it was humping a monitor or being playfully sodomized by Chunx's mic. He's gonna make some dude a lucky wife someday.
Sure, Chunx's shrieks could be a tad grating, and Gravy Train!!!!'s carnivalesque keyboard riffs are as lo-fi as they get, but you've gotta love the weird mash-ups (one mixed the Cure's Just Like Heaven with Ce Ce Peniston's Finally) and falsetto rhymes about pussy and sipping 40s, and the striptease-style performances were incredible.
That little Telus-commercial lizard scurries through my brain every time I hear Le Tigre's Deceptacon, but it's great that they're seeping into the mainstream. The thought of proto-feminists growing up with the chance to hear feminist roll calls and anthems about butch visibility on the radio seems almost more subversive than flogging the grrrl-centric dance party within the subculture that birthed it.
There were singalongs to JD 's bouncy new pro-butch track, Viz, as well as older faves like All That Glitters and shout-out Hot Topic, and even the overexposed Deceptacon felt new when the kids were flailing.
Have to say that the giant drunk dudes who stormed through the crowd shoving aside small girls and twinks to take up space made me sick. They got especially aggressive during the anti-patriarchal FYR, and after the show I heard them talking about how fucking feminists should respect [their] cocks. Guys, there are thousands of rock shows a year, and maybe four of those are feminist-focused. Listen to the fucking lyrics and show some respect, or take your cocks and walk yourselves to the exit. Please.