Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
August 10, 2006 - sold out
Now, I've been to plenty of sold out shows, but I guess some shows are more sold out than others (to paraphrase Orwell's Animal Farm). Last night's Stink Mitt/Eagles of Death Metal/Peaches show was THE MOST sold out show I've ever attended. Even before Christine and I walked into the Commodore, the buzz in the air was palpable. There were barricades down at the end of the street - whether they were originally intended for the show or not, I do not know - but they well could have been. We arrived at almost 10 o'clock - missing the entire performance of opening act Stink Mitt - and in spite of the lateish hour, the crowds out in front of the Commodore were huge. There were, quite conservatively, hundreds of people standing in line hoping to get tickets, not to mention all those who were just trolling the sidewalk, muttering to all passers-by, "Tickets? Tickets to sell?" like some down on their luck junkies. Dream on, people! You were not going to get in - that much was obvious.
Even heading up the stars into the Commodore was an experience - hordes of people were moving up and down the stairs (the up I can understand, but down? Where were they going?). It was chaotic, it was hyperkinetic, it was pulsing with energy. All night, the washrooms had line ups out the door. Now, I don't want to get the Commodore in trouble, but I kind of think there were more people there than the 997 it allows on their permit. Trust me.I know these things.Anyway, enough of that and on with the show, as they say... As I mentioned before, we totally missed Stink Mitt. Christine had been down at the Commodore earlier that afternoon interviewing Jesse from Eagles of Death Metal (EofDM)- so that was our excuse for being late. She had to come and pick me up, and that takes time - believe me. But on the way down to the show, we listened to EofDM's latest cd, Death by Sexy, and I got the inside scoop on the interview, so that set us in good stead for the show. The band came on just after we arrived, with frontman Jesse Hughes sporting a huge Sam Elliot-type moustache (his 'soft boomerang of love'), long sideburns, jeans and a button up shirt that didn't quite cover all his tatts. He kind of reminded me of Ponch from CHiPs - all macho swagger - but although he was all about the show, and a truly charismatic frontman, it was evident that the entire band was gobsmacked by their Vancouver reception. Hughes referred many times to the welcome at the start of the show, the huge crowd, the cheering, the beautiful women - and let me tell you, there were a lot of those in evidence.
The night prior, Christine and I had been over at Richard's seeing World Party. There, the audience was easily 80% male. Here at the Commodore, the tables were turned; I'd roughly estimate that 70-80% of the audience was female, and most of the audience was 20ish. And that's early 20ish, not late. This was a young, young crowd. A hip, hip crowd. And they were there to boogie. The entire dance floor was moving, from the start of EofDM's set to the end. The band is well-known for its great hooks and churning guitars, and even though Jesse's falsetto was a little tremulous at times, the band was 110% there, musically.
When they announced their last song, and played the Stones' Brown Sugar, well - it was a moment in time. They were better than the Stones. It's true. Many might consider that sacrilege, but it is the truth. And then they didn't stop after all! The band had a short conference, and went right on playing. Backstage was signalling them to stop (I think that's what the whole flashlight thing was about), but they soldiered on. For their last song, the girls standing back stage came on and started dancing with the band. Well, that just opened the floodgates right there - within moments, there were 30 more women from the audience on stage. But, unlike most shows, these people were allowed to stay on the stage and dance for the entire song - there was not the usual sight of bouncers dragging people off to the bowels of the club, never to been seen or heard from again (or, at least, that's what I've always imagined...). Truly, this was the feel-good show of the year.
After a short break, Peaches came on, but she had a hard act to follow. I've never seen her before, but my understanding is that Peaches is known as much for her attitude as for her music. And last night was no exception. When the lights went down to signal the start of her set, all eyes were on the stage - but Peaches ended up out in the audience, balancing on a railing in the seating area while she did her first show. She started the show wearing a silver hotpants outfit and a short burkah-type veil - quite the ensemble. After the first song, she went up onto the stage to join her band who were similarly attired in '70s-type kitschy silver suits. That just set the tone for the show, which was a 70s meets the new millenium -type musical extravaganza,. It was a celebration of that time between the pill and the plague, when anyone could do anything - or so it seemed. And that was Peaches' jumping off point. She proceeded to give us a very theatrical set, complete with a groovy bicycle that Peaches rode on stage, a giant blow-up penis that sat at the drum kit and was later 'injured', and a costume change that involved one of the roadies having to come out not once but three times in order to help Peaches with a minor wardrobe malfunction. She ended up in a sequined bikini somewhat akin to what you would see on a woman in a high-wire trapezee act. Certainly, theatrical was the word of the day.
Having been out late the night before at the other show, we decided to leave a bit early. Knowing Peaches, this was probably a mistake. I'm sure she had some eye-popping grand finale that we missed, but oh well - that's life.