Back in the era of BM (Before Mortgage), I would attend up to 15 live gigs in a year. Ah the days when I thought nothing of forking out $80 to see a band I only mildly liked. And yet somehow I never got to see Peaches even though I’ve been a big fan since the first album. I’ve corrected that wrong on Friday by catching her live show at The Hi-Fi in the city.
I’ve performed at The Hi-Fi a few years ago with my old bellydance school, so being there again brought back some good memories. Since the show started at 10.15pm, I skipped the supporting act. I also decided not to brave the front rows and the sweaty press of bodies, and stuck around the back at the edge of the raised floor, which afforded good view of the stage and some personal space. A good decision, since during the concert Peaches sprayed the front rows with champagne at least three times. Nothing against that per se, but it’s a pain having to clean my glasses all the time.
Peaches was awesome from the get-go, an energetic and charismatic performer who gives a middle finger to the conventions of gender and age. She arrived onstage in a fabulous glittery costume which she dismantled as the opening song progressed. She had a couple more costume changes during the show, sometimes changing right there onstage while a helper held up her microphone. I’ve read that usually she tours with the band, but this time it was just her with the pre-recorded beats. Oh and a couple of back-up dancers, a red-haired girl and a guy with long black hair and a beard who kinda channelled last year’s Eurovision winner. During the second song, they both wore shiny black g-strings and above-the-knee boots; later on they appeared on stage dressed as giant lady parts and proceeded to, er, enjoy themselves throughout the song. Another memorable prop was what looked like a giant inflatable penis which extended across the entire standing area, with Peaches singing from the inside while being supported by the crowd below. There was also lots of gyrating and simulated sex. Which all came off as funny and playful rather than sordid; Peaches’ sense of humour is what I’ve always liked about her. She’s 100% committed to her act, but at the same time she doesn’t seem to take it too seriously and has heaps of fun mocking it.
The show was pretty much a non-stop party with one song immediately followed by the other, and I well and truly danced my ass off. The only exception was at the very end, when instead of playing Fuck the Pain Away, Peaches decided to stop the show and sell some T-shirts right from the stage. Which was a weird decision and something that would normally drain the concert of all energy, but at that point after over an hour the crowd was so pumped up they would have put up with anything. I was happy with the setlist (would have loved to hear Billionaire though), and the new stuff from the upcoming album sounded great too.
The only letdown for me was the crowd fashion; I would have expected to see some crazy and off-the-wall outfits at a Peaches gig, but surprisingly they were rather subdued and only mildly alternative. Ah well.