MORE

Shake Your Tits

Shake your coconuts: Neung Phak, before they were accosted with piña colada ingredients
Nathan Grumdahl

By the time you read this, I will be gone. Climbing the stairs to the state building named for a Jedi dynasty that strikes back. Sparking my Bic for the green lady who still carries a torch for the Hudson. Getting the heebie-geebies from the bathrooms at CBGBs. Yes, I'm off to see the lights in New York City (as well as those in a McDonald's in New Jersey and in a few gas stations in Ohio, but who wants to ruin the fantasy now?). I'm going on a road trip with the local band Friends Like These, who invited me along on tour with them, and I can't wait to live the rock 'n' roll dream. In addition to spending every night in a bar, I'll get to live on old cheese sandwiches salvaged from the trunk of the car and convince random concertgoers to let me sleep at their houses when the show is over--which, now that I think about it, is not so different from how I live here in Minneapolis. Since I'll need to devote all of my concentration to perfecting my Derek Zoolander face for Rolling Stone's paparazzi, I'm afraid I'll have to abandon this column for a month. But before I start singing "Tiny Dancer" in the tour van, here's one for the road.

 

Gogol Bordello, Monday, May 3 at the 7th St. Entry Can I just tell you how amazing this Ukrainian Gypsy-punk band is? Since I've already poured rubber cement into my ears in order to ensure that I can't hear your cries of protest, here goes. The bare-chested frontman sports a handlebar mustache that seems to unroll every time he trills a buccaneer rrrr. The ponytailed fiddler bounces to each oom-pah until the fringe on his pantaloons flutters like coquettish eyelashes. The accordionist crushes his squeezebox so hard that one expects it to squirt juice. And before Gogol Bordello even launch their first salvo from the stage, the curtains just give up and set themselves on fire.

Okay, so maybe someone accidentally threw her cigarette butt into those curtains. But once the Entry staff extinguishes the flames and the Marlboro-huffers suck up the remaining smoke, it doesn't matter: Singer Eugene Hütz swings from the rafters, surfs the speakers, beats on a bucket, and pulls his backup dancers' pigtails while the giddy audience behaves as if the floor has turned to lava. We jump. We hop. We kick. We stomp. And by the time a smartly attired stranger asks if I want to dance (last recorded partner-dancing at the Entry: 1902) everyone's lost in the music. We wave our arms like drowning people as Hütz raises a "Think locally, Fuck globally" banner. His multi-culti fans beam back at him with a look that suggests they're excited about more than just grassroots organizing. Tonight, he's gonna be giving mustache rides from here to Kiev.

 

Peaches, Saturday, May 8 at First Avenue I'm so tired of hearing my lesbian friends groan, Why can't I find a nice, religious girl--you know, someone who will revere my crotch like a burning bush? Well, sigh no more, ladies, for Peaches is here. "I don't like to make the choice/I like girls, I like boys," the diminutive diva sings on "I U She," and just to prove she's not discussing her platonic affinities, the next song finds her commanding, "Shake your tits! Shake your dicks!" while nearly licking the dildos attached to her female backup dancers' shorts. In fact, as Peaches gives lip service to her booming electro beats, I keep a running count of all the things that touch her tongue: the microphone, the speakers, her own armpits, her fingers, audience members' fingers, First Avenue's railing, Iggy Pop's face on a movie screen, her dancers' thighs, and probably her own thighs, if she can reach them. By the end of the night, jocks, gay boys, and hippie girls alike are captivated by her Tiny Elvis gyrations, though I'm not quite sure what unites us as Peaches fans. Are we excited about deconstructing the guitar as phallic symbol? Are we reveling in the political gains advanced by do-me feminism? Nah. We just like sex.

 

Neung Phak, Sunday, May 9 at the Triple Rock Social Club Neung Phak are by far the best Southeast Asian psych-pop fusion group I've ever seen. Coincidentally, they are also the only Southeast Asian psych-pop fusion group I've ever seen. Nevertheless, after this performance, I'm never listening to another one again, because really, who can compete with their half-time show? After playing a handful of pretty Thai, Cambodian, and Vietnamese hits, these Oakland art-pranksters get accosted by a man with a Ramones haircut who jumps onstage and commandeers the microphone, screaming in another language. "He wants to sing a song," translates one of Neung Phak's singers as the man shrieks wildly. But the band doesn't know the song he wants. Getting extremely angry, he pulls out a large bomb-shaped object wrapped in gold paper. "Is that what I think it is?" asks another singer, terrified. The dude nods his head. The band tries to placate him with flowers, but it's no use. He rips off the gold paper. The singers scream! The crowd screams! And there in his hands is something terrifying. Okay, it's just a coconut. But if you'd ever imbibed nine piña coladas with a Polynesian exotic dancer-cum-Jimmy Buffet fan-club vice president (don't ask) and paid the price in the morning, you'd be scared, too.

 

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Tracy + the Plastics, Culture for Pigeon (Troubleman) The best thing about fake bands is that there's no fake way to listen to them. Tribute groups, performance art projects, Christopher Guest mock-ups--they all make actual noise in actual time. And though Wynne Greenwood posits her one-woman trio Tracy + and the Plastics as a simulacrum of rock, its members still fight like a flesh-and-blood band. In the DVD that accompanies this album, Greenwood plays referee to her two-dimensional alter egos, Nikki and Cola. "We feel like [our name] upholds the historical hierarchy of a rock band," guitarist-Greenwood (Nikki) and drummer-Greenwood (Cola) complain to singer-Greenwood (Tracy). Who can blame them for feeling overshadowed when "we" is just a fragmented "I" as seen through the frontwoman's fragmented eye? But even if Tracy's pop speaks louder than her populism, the Plastics' Casio-toned beats seize the 808 pumping blood through your veins. "There's too much happening here," a mournful female voice drones on "Big Stereo," as nothing much happens at all. The lonely vocals sound so harrowing between the sparse synth loops that this can't be Nikki or Cola or Tracy. This is Wynne Greenwood singing. Her in-character inflection may not be authentic. But it sounds so real.

Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
7th St. Entry

701 1st Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403-1327

612-338-8388

www.first-avenue.com


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >