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PHÉDRE at Sneaky Dee's on Friday, June 16. NXNE. Rating: NNN
Phèdre pulled out all the stops to make their live debut at the Great Hall last February an all-out flamboyant, decadent spectacle. It seemed well suited for a one-off hometown blowout, but since then the druggy psychedelic dance-pop project has picked up enough steam to warrant a scaled-down day-to-day version (they'll soon tour as the opening act for Ariel Pink).
So there was no way their midnight Sneaky Dee's set could live up to their entrenched legend, but they did a good job of building their hedonistic, glammed-out aesthetic on a smaller scale.
Feathers, masks, piñatas, gold hoods, costumes, megaphones and full-time backup dancers helped recreate the magic of their debut, even if not to the same unattainable level (alas, no burgers this time).
Singing to backing tracks, Dan Lee and April Aliermo brought a tonne of energy and charisma to a packed, sweaty, kinetic crowd, but often seemed off-key and unpolished. And despite playing multiple times at NXNE with his own project, Doldrums, Airick Woodhead (one-third of the trio) was nowhere to be found.