Concert Review: Wait, Peaches is a Gay Icon?

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Stop me when this sounds like a Seinfeld episode: Our leading character, a music critic, decides to indulge an old vice on a Tuesday night, going out to see a foul-mouthed female electronica artist/rapper who amused him back in his college years. Upon arriving, he's surprised by how many people came out to see this show -- he has to park waaay down the street from the venue. And by how fashionable this ultra-eclectic crowd is -- there's everything from beardos to mohawked punks to club kids, all wearing their chosen style impeccably. Between sets, he's blown away by how enthusiastically (and well) everyone is dancing to MGMT.

He's standing there waiting to see a Canadian teacher-turned-sexpot most famous for landing her song "Do Ya" in a GAP ad when he finally realizes what's going on: This show has the full support of The Friends of Dorothy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

OK, so, no, I had no idea Peaches has successfully transformed herself from one of a dozen over-hyped electroclash artists to the hip, post-millennial Barbara Streisand. I went to see her show at The Clubhouse out of nostalgia for the Teaches of Peaches era, fully expecting to be one of 200 or so people in attendance. Sure, I'd seen the genderbending publicity photos she's since released, which look nothing like the trampy stuff I remember from the early 00s, but I assumed that was a last-ditch effort to shock a jaded America, not the brilliant culmination of her career.

First, let me say this: Peaches is still Peaches. Though her wardrobe is totally over-the-top now (she played the first song completely covered by what looked like a massive wig then stripped down from there as the show went on) and her enthusiasm hasn't been dampened by age (she's 42), Peaches she still can't sing or rap. She has a full backing band (The Herms) but her songs are still ridiculously simple and built around mid-tempo beats with a little electronic trim.

I was mildly entertained by the sheer spectacle, but I couldn't justify watching her for more than an hour, which is what I planned to see long before learning of her new status as a Gay Icon. In that time I still got to see her crowdsurf, sing an entire song while two audience members propped her up by the boots and mime male masturbation while using a microphone as a penis.

Vintage Peaches.

Really, though, Peaches has always had the combination of super-danceable beats and titillating lyrics that work well in over-packed dance clubs, and The Clubhouse definitely had the vibe of an over-packed dance club this Tuesday night. There definitely nothing wrong with that, especially since I expected it to be me, the bartenders, and the bouncers trying hoist her up for the obligatory crowdsurf.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Peaches at The Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe

Better Than: Kathy Griffin, but not Margaret Cho.

Personal Bias: Pro-gay, Pro-Peaches. Also, Pro-Playing Some of The Songs I Came To Hear Early.

Random Detail: The light up keytar one of Peaches' backing bandmates had was the single coolest instrument I've seen all year.

Further Listening: If you like Peaches you'll love Chicks on Speed.

By The Way: I hope I didn't suggest everyone at the show was gay -- it was certainly a mixed bag of househeads, punks, etc. -- but I was surprised by how many gay men and lesbians there were, as I'd never made the connection before this.

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