with World Provider
Tuesday, Aug. 21 Go! Room 4
"Guess my bra size!"
Former Canadian Merrill Nisker, aka Peaches, is involving the Go! Room 4 crowd in a little Q&A about her black-bra-clad breasts. Amid all the shouts, someone correctly guesses 34AA, not exactly va va voom, but Peaches works 'em. Peaches launches into "AA XXX" from her new saucy, smutty, big-in-Europe disc, The Teaches of Peaches: "Only double AA, thinkin' triple X," Peaches moans over a Euro-tech club groove. "Licky licky sucky nobody here can tell me they don't want to fucky fucky," she continues, to the mixed gay/straight crowd of fans and the curious.
Peaches takes the stage in red-sparkle hot pants, black bra and matching "wrap" around her chest, which, scarf-like, she can use as a prop throughout the set. It's more performance art than music and there's plenty of audience involvement: Peaches jumps down into the crowd--which is game enough but not sure what to made of her--and tries to get them to shake their groove thangs.
While Peaches got yanked off stage midshow during her recent Coney Island day gig--rumor has it Peaches was "diddling her Skittle" ("Diddle My Skittle" is one of her tracks), among other antics--she left her Skittle alone at the Carrboro show, possibly because the Go! staff wasn't able to get the wireless mikes requested on her rider. (In other words, Peaches only had one free hand to work with.)
A highlight of the show was Peaches mugging it up to Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation," swiggin' beer through the verses and shaking her tail to the riffs. It was actually really funny: a parody of a song that was a parody in the first place, done with a wink, a nudge, and plenty of (s)ass. The audience even got a chance to participate, as Peaches pointed to her boobs and then dangled the mike as a phallus, exhorting the crowd to "shake your titties/shake your dickies!"
"Come on Chapel Hill indie rockers," Peaches pleaded with the crowd, who were with her but hesitant to get in on the act (as happens at some gigs). "If I can get one person to uncross their arms, I'm doing my job!"
Although they'd run out of some tour merchandise, Peaches took a moment to direct the audience to her merch table: "We still have 'Diddle My Skittle' panties." (You could also get a wife-beater shirt that reads "Peaches XXX.")
"This is my last show [on the tour] Peaches yelled, bouncing animatedly. "It's your last chance to show me you like it!" Peaches was joined for her encore by World Provider, (aka Mal Stain, a fellow Canadian musician/performance artist who, during his set, kept peeling off his clothes to reveal a different outfit (from a long, Muslim robe get-up to tight red briefs, tight long-sleeved T-shirt and a cowboy hat). The two ended up chomping off fake blood capsules, both getting slightly blood-smeared.
Peaches' approach to sex is sort of like pushing a stray kitten's head into a bowl of milk and commanding, "Drink it!" It's not sexy as much as sexual (imagine a young Lou Reed wearing spandex hot pants and bumping and grinding). Peaches, with equal parts chutzpah and humor, provokes the audience into confronting their hang-ups. It's also about a career for Nisker, a former Canadian experimental jazz singer who's doing well in Europe with her dance-porn persona (she now resides in Berlin, home of her uber-hip label, Kitty-Yo). And she's talented: She also composes and programs all her disco/funk Euro-tech porn anthems armed with an MC-505 Groovebox.
So I left without a pair of the "Diddle My Skittle" panties. But I feel better, somehow, knowing that they exist, that Peaches is somewhere, pumping her fist in the air as she exhorts the audience to "fuck the pain away." Do you need to see Peaches more than once? No. Well ... at least not until she releases a new album.
Saturday, Aug. 25
For those who haven't had the pleasure of witnessing Sade in concert, allow me to be the first to tell you that you're missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime show. That's exactly what the mega-packed audience got last Saturday evening when Sade's Lovers Rock tour hit the Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek: a show, maybe even the mother of all shows. It had been over eight years since Sade fans heard new material from the soul legend before this year's Lover's Rock CD and--judging from the huge crowd at the Alltel Pavillion--this was the one concert that fans had to check out.
The show started just after dusk with neo-soul new jack India.Arie taking the stage. Armed with a full band as well as her acoustic guitar, Arie was impressive as she stirred the crowd, opening with her current hit song, "Brown Skin." Dressed in beautiful white African attire, Arie rolled off seven songs from her debut CD, Acoustic Soul, and managed to hold the attention of the laid-back audience who were eager to hear the headlining act. The singer-songwriter-musician flexed her husky yet smooth vocals, wooing the crowd with her smash hit, "Video," as her closing song. Arie's band played up to her vocals and guitar with a mellow, soul sound that had traces of hip hop, much to the delight of younger fans.
Nearly 45 minutes after India.Arie exited the stage, Sade, under clear skies and with a half moon beaming in the distance, gazed out at the sea of people. She immediately got the crowd on its feet, opening with "Cherish the Day." Sade herself has always insisted that it's not just about the singer, but rather that "Sade" is a band. Backed by longtime members Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman, Andrew Hale and Leroy Osbourne, Sade showed everyone why it has long been one of the best live acts since the mid-'80s. Adu (Sade's last name) herself was everything as advertised: beautiful, elegant, and graceful in both her singing and movement. The sultry soul singer was the epitome of what a soul performer is all about. Although she was a bit tired and her voice somewhat strained from her previous show, Sade gave the appreciative crowd every fiber of her essence and being for two solid hours. "I know it's been some time since you've seen me, North Carolina," Sade said to a screaming crowd after the intro song, "but you knew I'd come back to you."
Dressed in a pink ankle-length Oriental dress, Sade rolled off hits from all five of her CDs. From "Somebody Already Broke My Heart" (complete with falling raindrops in the background) from the latest CD to "Cherry Pie" from her first, Sade's sexy, soulful vocals and mellow grooving music were as tight as any of their recorded tracks.
And there was Adu herself, alone against a flowery pink backdrop, singing the heartfelt "Pearls," a song about oppression and starvation in Africa. Or Sade, the band, performing the Bob Marley-influenced "Slave Song" in silhouette against a raging ocean background.
For two hours, Sade let everyone in on not just her personal anguish but also the pain she feels for humanity. But this wasn't a sad show; quite the contrary. Last Saturday's concert was a celebration of life, love and pain, and those who were there to witness it were graced with Sade's good vibrations and super-soulful performance. There were no costume changes, stage props or music video dance acts--just Sade, in all of their musical glory, masterfully performing song after beautiful song with the timeless precision and skill of a band that's been together for over 16 years.
Accentuated by beautiful and serene backdrops and images, Sade gave the crowd a session that was food for the soul. Performing such hits as "Smooth Operator," "Never as Good as the First Time" and "No Ordinary Love," Sade's jazzy-soul sound and grooving horn and guitar solos had the audience both mellow and hyped at the same time.
The standing crowd wasn't quite ready for the soul goddess and her band to end the show, and chants of "Sade, Sade!!" began to fill the pavilion. Sade, as gracious a band as you'll ever see, responded to two curtain calls, leaving the crowd still yearning for more.
"It's hard to forget a night like this one North Carolina," Adu said, as she prepared to close out the show, "I hope that we can do again someday soon." We're hoping also, but we'll never forget this show.
--Gabriel M. Rich