Review by Michele Martin
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
Imagine, if you will, a dimly lit bowling alley, centre lanes blocked off for a makeshift stage. Imagine bowling balls and pins, painted in neon colours, all glowing eerily under black lights. Imagine all kinds of cool glowing graphics on the walls, as well as all kinds of cool people actually bowling -- that's right, bowling -- while the bands perform. Are you getting the picture yet? Needless to say, it's not your typical venue; but, then, it wasn't your typical show, either.
Opening trio Queazy were a delight, with vocalist Lounging Laura on guitar and vocals, Lisa Roadkill on bass and Beatmaster Bina on drums, and all of them in bowling shoes. It was a joy to listen to an all-female band that really rocked without posturing. Laura has a great voice, hitting the high notes as easily as the low. And that screech! Hot damn! A real grown-up woman with a real grown-up voice, rather than that annoyingly breathy, baby-doll style. And that voice, together with the other sounds emanating from the trio, was showcased in a venue that seemed to have better acoustics than most clubs. Soundpeople, repeat after me: LOUD is not better! GOOD is better.
Unlike most female bands, there was nothing cute about Queazy's playing. These women rocked. Highlights included "Ugh," a fast and furious number, "for all you metal bowlers out there," and the final song, "Thieves." While the band was great for listening, they've still got some work to do, as stage presence is not their forte (especially between songs). Still, with the disco ball turning, and the smoke machine working overtime, Queazy's set came to a close all too soon.
Up next, local improv theatre group the Muscle Bitches. How else would you describe a five-piece band with a manic frontman by the name of Dr. Naughtypants cavorting all over the stage, mauling (and table-dancing for) the audience? Or vocalist Abunda Vita, holding her crotch, shaking and strutting her stuff, looking like a crazed contortionist as she wrapped her wriggling self around the writhing form of Dr. Naughtypants, all the while bellowing forth like Tina Turner. Then there's guitarist Reverend Kitten Flesh, dressed only in a leather g-string, which was distracting, to say the least.
The set was truly a piece of performance art, and the temptation is to overlook the music as being secondary to the spectacle. But to do so means missing out on some excellent playing, as well as Dr. Naughtypants' incredible voice. Perry Farrell-esque in his presence, the high kicking Doctor can belt 'em out with the best of them. Whether using his shirt as a skipping rope, or knocking over chairs and playfighting with Abunda or heading off to bowl in the middle of a song, Dr. Naughtypants managed to keep the audience entranced with his unique, operatic style. And, amazingly, the rest of the crew somehow manage to keep up with all the craziness. As musicians, these guys can play and do so with flair, whether the tune is a ballad, heavy metal, opera or hard rock. [Rodney: Or just hard ballad metal opera heavy.]
All in all, a thoroughly interesting set. Get out soon and see the Muscle Bitches, before they come out and find you first. And don't try to leave early like Queazy did, or Dr. Naughtypants will chase you down the street and drag you back to the show!
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