– Ritz, Manchester –



In 2022, there’s something tiring about describing any kind of art as ‘feminist’. Yes, the word and the movement carried us to places we needed to be. And the battle to demolish damaging barriers, language and stereotypes is far from over.

But the term ‘feminist’ has been hijacked, repurposed and distorted. It’s so misshapen that it has become subjective. In this context, it can’t solely describe what Peaches has dedicated her career to. Or the message she communicates around the globe via her unique combination of music and performance art.

A woman at the bar tonight shouts to her friend a much better description of what to expect from a Peaches gig – “Mate! There are fannies EVERYWHERE!”

That simplicity is what Peaches is all about. It’s true that her music has been and remains seminal in unpicking the many, many tangled threads around expressing sexuality and gender. But universally, Peaches is on a mission to encourage everyone to be comfortable in their skin. And this is a mission Manchester will always be here for.

Every detail of Peaches’ show at the Ritz tonight, part of the delayed 20th anniversary tour of her ground-breaking 2000 album The Teaches of Peaches, celebrates identity, bodies and, of course, sexual expression. From her countless costume changes and platinum blonde mullet to her body-stockinged band and posture-perfect dancers.

No doubt a companion for so many in the room, the album feels as fresh as the day it hit, twinned with spectacular showmanship. Out come outfits made entirely of pink hotpants and blonde hair, flesh-coloured thongs, sequinned bomber jackets, PVC heels. Her dancers perform stripteases, removing layers and layers of underwear, symbolising shedding inhibitions and taught behaviours.

They dance around wearing huge vagina masks, complete with long hair. They contort around Peaches, echoing the need for us to re-frame our relationships with our bodies, with sex and the language we use to describe both.

In the foreground, Peaches flexes the voice and songwriting skills that keep her in the spotlight, belting out much-loved tracks such as ‘AA XXX’ and ‘Lovertits’ with energy and passion that never seem to deplete.

Being a “Peaches live virgin”, as she describes gig first-timers, it was great to see drag-style comedy and cabaret running through the evening. From her starting the set on a Zimmer frame and poking fun at old age to an X-rated sing-along to fellow Canadian Celine Dion’s ‘All Coming Back to Me Now’.

Although tonight honours Peaches’ first album, she offers an extended set featuring newer tracks ‘Vaginoplasty’ and ‘Pussy Mask’. The latter is a particular highlight, fearlessly tackling issues from COVID to abortion law and cementing rapping firmly into her electro and punk rock repertoire.

After strutting over our heads in a giant inflatable dick, Peaches ends her set adorned with plastic tits. She ignites the room with ‘Fuck the Pain Away’, explaining “I’m measuring how nasty every city is. And Manchester is a big contender.”

High praise indeed – come again, Peaches, and again.

Peaches: Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter