Friday, September 25, 2009

Concert Review: Ladyhawke, Semi-Precious Weapons and Natalie Portman's Shaved Head

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 10:56 AM

REVIEW BY ELKE MERMIS

Sad I was indeed to find out that Norwegian riot-grrrl Ida Maria had jumped off hot pink star-studded line-up for Perez Hilton Presents at the Beaumont this past Wednesday night. (Since I gave her such a glowing review in July, I was looking forward to hearing her signature lady-roar again). However, with the infamous bitchy celebrity blogger backing the event, I still was totally psyched to see what kind of people this shindig might coax out of the woodwork--and, of course, to enjoy a night of some solid '80s-style electro-pop.

As it turns out, Perez Hilton Presents offered a lot of one, and not too much of the other. The music: freaking great. The crowd: well...not so much.

Ladyhawke_3_opt.jpg

We arrived as bouncy electro-poppers Natalie Portman's Shaved Head were bopping about on stage, good-naturedly entertaining a crowd of about 60 people or so. (Well, there were 30 people dancing. The other 30 people at the show were perched in the wings of the Beaumont, sipping on Miller Lite and eyeing that one guy with the awesome neon pink mohawk).

Don't get me wrong: fans were definitely rocking out to the tantalizingly taut grooves that the night's line-up churned out, but compared to the glitzy, bubble-gum pink mess of people that comes to mind when envisioning a Perez Hilton event, this crowd seemed pretty tame.

The dwindling numbers on the Beaumont's floor didn't scare New York punk act Semi-Precious Weapons, though; as soon as these guyliner-happy dudes took the stage, they made it immediately clear the party was on, revving up the mood with their infectious punk sound and over-the-top glam-rock gestures.

With ridiculous antics anywhere from gargling the mike and climbing on the rafters (literally) to floor-wrestling with fans, Semi-Precious Weapons put on a thrilling show, rolling CBGB-style punk, new wave, and glitzy glam style all into one manic, sweaty, glittering mess. And with charismatic, exhibitionistic frontman Justin Tranter channeling Bowie, Iggy Pop and a bit of the late great Lux Interior all at once, it's easy to see why bat-hit crazy pop star Lady Gaga is an avid fan.

click to enlarge Ladyhawke_2_opt.jpg

Phillipa "Pip" Brown -- who slings songs as Ladyhawke -- graced us with her glitzy retro pop as the last act of the evening.

A native New Zealander, Ladyhawke writes music that glistens with the stylized sheen of classic '80s pop and electro, paired with warbling, deep vocals carrying a heavy dose of lady rockers Patti Smith and Chrissie Hynde. From the first note, Brown and her backing boys nailed their live performance, bringing Ladyhawke's razor-sharp electro back to earth with heavier retro-punk guitar tones for a refreshing twist to her trademark glossy sound.

For all her seamless execution, though, at times Ladyhawke came off as a bit awkward and stiff; the extent of the ensemble's crowd-interaction basically consisted of Brown's raspy mumbled thank-you's in her kiwi drawl. However, with a tight set packed with synths, neon and influences ranging from Gary Numan to Van Halen, Ladyhawke hit every sweet spot in her catalog -- and closed out the night with a performance that, while maybe a bit bland to watch, was definitely solid sonic achievement.

Ladyhawke Set List:

Magic

Professional Suicide

Dusk Til Dawn

Another Runaway

Love Don't Live Here Anymore

Danny and Jenny

Back of the Van

Paris is Burning

My Delirium

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