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Part 5: Best and Worst Dressed

James (Photo: Kirstie Shanley)

They may not have been Ziggy Stardust, but they certainly weren't wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Behold this year's haute couture.

Part 5: Best and Worst Dressed

Worst Dressed The only thing worse than letting you mom dress you, is letting your publicist do it. Unfortunately, PopMatters’ fashion police weren’t on patrol this year, as only two performers were found to have committed a fashion faux pas. Maybe our eyes are going, or the bands are dressing better.

2. O'Neal McKnight

12 April 2008: Boston, MA Not only did O’Neal McKnight verbally assault us with his awfully clichéd R&B songs, but he did quite a number on everyone's eyesight, too. It's not that his plastic/vinyl spacesuit was that cringe-worthy, but when the lights hit it, I can bet at least one person was blinded. Only Daft Punk can and should pull off this look. -Andrew Martin

1. James

25 September 2008: Chicago, IL While Tim Booth, James’ enigmatic singer, is a talented and engaging frontman, his clothing choice -- which paired a long beany hat and a pair of what looked like pajama pants with a debonair suit jacket -- was strange and off-putting. I’m sure his mismatched dress sense was just his way of demonstrating his own inner character, but I doubt he’ll set any new fashion trends soon. -Kirstie Shanley Best Dressed They may not have been Ziggy Stardust, but they certainly weren't wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Behold this year's haute couture.

5. Saul Williams

18 April 2008: Chicago, IL When an artist’s music is a true extension of self and the stage costume serves as an even deeper penetrating extension of the music, the show can be transcendent. Such was the case with Saul Williams, who spoke, rapped, and crooned while covered in feathers, war paint, and diamond studded tights. Combing George Clinton, Johnny Rotten, Sly Stone, Chuck D, and Malcolm X into one person, Williams’ mix of music and costumed might provided two hours of pure communal rocking bliss. -Chris Catania

4. CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy)

1 August 2008: Chicago, IL While CSS is a tour de force live, it goes without saying that Lovefoxxx, the group’s frontwoman, is the focal point. And while her antics are well worth watching, it’s her ever-changing sense of dress and fashion that pulls her to the fore. At Lollapalooza, she walked onto a stage adorned with balloons dressed in a bright red jumpsuit with lightning bolts painted on her face, her sense of fashion fun heightening the energy of the performance. -Kirstie Shanley

3. The Wedding Present

3 October 2008: Toronto, Canada Maybe this isn’t quite what this category calls for, but I extremely impressed with David Gedge’s ability to ignore heat, or maybe determination, or maybe just cussedness. Every single musician I’ve ever seen start a show in a club with so much as long sleeves on has been eventually forced to disrobe by the lights, the packed bodies, the aerobic exercise. But while the Wedding Present frontman was just as active as most singers (and more than some I’ve seen), he remained in his quite warm looking and heavy black shirt throughout the concert, supremely unruffled (and un-red faced) in an outfit I would have assumed would have prompted head prostration. It was more impressive than wearing a tuxedo would have been. -Ian Mathers

2. Big Business

9 August 2008: Boston, MA Big Business frontman Jared Warren was both an impressive performer and dresser, not something you would expect from a guy playing stoner metal. Although King Buzzo of the headlining Melvins almost stole the best-dressed spot with his denim cloak, Warren, who rocked a shirt featuring a unicorn jumping over a rainbow before changing into a more impressive sailor outfit, was easily the most sharply dressed man. -Andrew Martin

1. Antony and the Johnsons

16 October 2008: New York, NY Antony Hegarty is a non-conformist tour de force. He challenges traditional notions of gender role-play, point of view, sexuality, singing, and most definitely wardrobe. Though he often opts for the default beatnik garb of all black, his symphonic concert at the famed Apollo Theatre was a dramatic affair. It demanded a spectacularly stoic and graceful white silk dress with cascading white garlands that spilled from a dizzying web of white strands. It was equal parts Whoville and Givenchy. The dress’ ornateness complemented the scale of the production while effectively drawing attention to its humble star. -Thomas Hauner

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