Terry Sawyer


City: Austin, Texas
Venue: Emo's
Date: 2004-04-23

Photo credit: Lynne Porterfield
Once you work in a porn store with someone, you're bonded for life. It's the common experience of shuddering inhumanity that comes from having to explain to another person that it's best if they don't return their videos with bodily fluids on them. Even though my friend Jason and I have little in common on the surface (he's a club kid romantic trapped in the body of an underwear model), we bond over our service in the xxx gutter and the fact that we both like our cocktails to taste as close to airplane fuel as possible. I was hoping Peaches would offer a musical bridge in our tastes in that way that bottoms out dance beats but isn't afraid to whip out a guitar and terrorize the crowd with nothing but a beat thump and slashing storm of riffs. I'd like to formally rescind my iffy review of Fatherfucker, which I found hopelessly trashy when I first heard it, an electroclash stripper pole of an album whose beats sounded painfully tinny and crumpled. The live set offered me a wholly different perspective, with her vocals edged in snapped power line volatility and the thundercracking beats opening my eyes to what a raw, naked, rock and roll rioter Peaches can be. Watching the record get played out live, I could feel how well Peaches can strip punk and hip hop down to this quivering core of threatening libido, a performance that manages to be enticing, repelling and hilarious without the slightest hint of avant-garde affectation. Peaches is nuclear badass-osity and I fully plan on listening to Fatherfucker in my car at night and asking random strangers if I can "pack their crack". After hearing her perform "Back It Up, Boys", I've decided I'd like to dedicate it to all religious fundamentalists in the world since I think it has the best lyrical response to repression ever written. Imagine blue state billboards emblazoned with "take a sabbatical from your radical fanatical battles, sit on the saddle, and let it rattle, rattle, rattle." Watching Peaches live, you get a sense that she's trying to pry us away from our hang-ups by eroticizing what discomfits us as well as by making audience members laugh at the high drama and intensity we invest in gender roles and picking holes. Her buxom bearded back-up dancers flop around in strap-on cocks while simulating sex acts or flinging their dildos down for Peaches to deepthroat. Peaches announces to the audience that she likes "pussies, butts, and dicks" and it's impossible not to want to applaud for someone polymorphously perverse who wouldn't dream of hemming and hawing about it. Peaches' territorially huge stage presence is sexually feral, the kind of pussy power that's indifferent to other's people's desires, a stark contrast to the personae of people like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera who traffic in the poses of the "innocent whore", a fantasy tailor made for the American male's judgmental sleaziness. In the way that she claims her space on stage, you get every sense that her eroticism is wholly owned by her. In fact when someone called her a "slut" in the front row, she spent much of the show glowering at them, kicking her leg inches from their face, and making menacing asides between songs. Whoever that fucker was, I have no doubt he spent the rest of the show wondering if he was going to be garroted by the mic cord. It's a feat unto itself to be able to entertain a packed capacity crowd with just the energy of yourself and the mixed opportunity of a stage. Of course, it didn't hurt to have her boogie dancers juicing up the periphery on some of the numbers, but Peaches held her own on many songs without them, projecting her ferocity through the room like blasts of radiation. She bounced off speakers, climbed up to the rafters, ripped off her clothes and for one number, even allowed herself to be elaborately tied up. I couldn't take my eyes off her, in awe of just how much removed she seemed from my own recurrent cowardice in the face of what "the others" might think. If this whole music thing doesn't pan out, I see a healthy future in despotism for her, should she decide to give in to the dark arts and use her cult of personality to enslave docile populaces. For the "Fuck the Pain Away" finale, Peaches opened up the task of performing to stage-horny audience members and the result was an American Idol orgy that had me spilling my beer because I couldn't stop laughing. Peaches has everything you could possibly want in going out to see a rock show: fuck all transgressiveness, ass jiggling, unkempt sexual energy and music so tight and powerhoused that even the most shy among you won't be able to resist the pelvic twitching salvos that make up the musical mantras in the teaches of Peaches.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.