It's been a long time since Aftermath has been to the kind of high-energy, high-theatrics rock and roll show that makes us totally forget ourselves, even if just for an hour. Monday night at House of Blues, Peaches gave us exactly that kind of show, a relentless assault on good taste, fashion, preconceived notions and musical genres.
We thought we had Peaches pegged. Shock-rocker. Gender-bender. We were hoping she'd come through and meet our expectations without being too corny or pedantic. We didn't expect a kind of show on the level of a low-scale Cirque du Soleil. Needless to say, she totally blew us away.
It's a shame MEN couldn't meet those expectations. Peaches' opening band features the glass-voiced Le Tigre alumna JD Samson on vocals and synth with Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O'Neill on guitars. Their sound is techno-pop, and the boyish Samson's voice is the perfect compliment to the heavily electronic music behind her.
At times, like with the song "Simultaneously," MEN seemed to channel post-punk bands like The Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees. At other times, though, they sounded like every generic night at a Montrose disco. At one point, O'Neill even put down his guitar to play a drill whistle.
MEN's music is message-heavy, and that's the problem. Samson is a well-known gay rights activist, but she seems to forget that pop music is meant to be fun as well as subversive. She introduced one song as being about all the rivers of Pangea. During "Credit Card Babies," she announced, "Who wants to have gay babies? This song is about raising gay babies!"
Behind her, two dancers writhed around like something from a demented Busby Berkeley film, holding two giant cardboard hands making the "three fingers deep" motion. In retrospect, these props looked decidedly low-rent, and you'd think a self-proclaimed art collective could come up with something a bit more creative.
The music was good, honestly, it's just that when half the crowd is already sold on your message, how controversial are you being? We guess playing a place like House of Blues is subversive in itself, but then again, as soon as MEN left the stage the HOB advertising screen dropped.