Peaches

Peaches

– FAT OUT’S BURROW (ISLINGTON MILL), SALFORD –

As another underwhelming and frustrating day at work draws to a close the abbreviation “WWPD?” is whirling around my head. Because I know the lady I am going to see would not stand for this boring, crap job: yes, “What Would Peaches Do?” Peaches (real name Merill) would probably storm out of her place of work, move to Berlin, without looking back.

Unfortunately I am not Peaches but for one night only I can pretend that I am, or at least pretend I’m her mate and it seems like everyone assembled at the Mill has similar levels of idolatry for a woman who has been around for at least fifteen years making music and inspiring people.

Her 2000 album Peaches was an Electroclash wonder, and a taste of what Dance music had to offer beyond generic High Hats and Handclaps which had been the fodder of 90’s Dance Music, something rougher, less loved up and just a little more…..nasty.

Tickets for the gig in Salford sold out in twenty minutes so it seems her appeal hasn’t faded despite the demise of Electroclash. Now living in Berlin, her support act, Madlick set the stage for what is to come: women creating live Dance music.

We arrive just in time for the end of the set and Madlick announce “All you all ready for Peaches?” A cheer goes up and the excitement is palpable. Armed with a Maraca, it’s my nod to being ‘whacky’ when I’m feeling anything but, helps when being brazenly creative and ‘out there’ is the order of the evening. In my own words “It’s in place of any form of scintillating conversation or personality” and so far so good, after sliding our way to the front, I lent it out to people around me for a cheeky shake. And the response was good.

Peaches emerges, wearing a see through onesie with sequined hands sown on to them, in place of the real ones which, came later. She is flanked by two women dressed as large vaginas and it feels as much like a live art show as it does a gig and quite funny one at that. A smile stuck to my face as we watch Peaches gyrate and provide vocals as well as commanding her sound desk which is no mean feat as she is the main source of entertainment and has produced vocals, music and stage show single handedly.

Right by the speakers we have a full auditory experience and I shake my maraca in appreciation. But it seems the others at the back are not so lucky and Peaches is the first to complain: she has made her way through the crowd, is standing on the bar and has taken a shot of tequilla.

“Where’s my bass?” she demands of the no doubt, anxious Mill staff. It seems the speakers don’t meet Peaches standards. “What would you do if you were me?” she asks the crowd as she makes her way back to the stage and adjusts the levels on her sound desk. I turn to my friend “Is Peaches being a Diva?” I am confused, Peaches doesn’t get stressed does she? Peaches isn’t like, Mariah it’s….Peaches!

It’s funny to see her stage persona slip and show her frustration on stage. It seems even in Peaches world things don’t go well and she gets stressed.

People begin to chant “Bass bass bass” to give Peaches what she wants and it does the trick as the show goes on, regardless of her sound concerns. But she certainly seemed on the cusp of throwing a strop and leaving the stage.

Different dancers arrive to replace the large vaginas, this time men dressed as women, natch. They act shocked and confused by what’s going on around them which leads to my second Peaches fact: she used to be a Drama teacher. This is unsurprising given how much time she spends on providing a show and everyone, including her, play, a ‘role’.

Peaches sheds more clothes until she’s down to her underwear and at one point she mounts the sound desk and her dancers act out providing cunnilingus which makes the crowd whoop with more approval.

This may sound like a night at Peter Stringfellows on Crack but she’s an empowered woman whose lyrics and performance radiate choice and the need to be your own boss. Her lyrics may not be winning any Ivor Novello awards anytime soon; as the last song of choice ‘Dick In the Air’ will testify but who cares? The energy is up and people are enjoying themselves.

Towards the end of the gig, some of the fans end up on stage including me, except I don’t get undressed, I am just someone who is having a lovely time with a maraca and that’ll do me. Plus, I was wearing my Marks & Sparks bra which doesn’t seem like Peaches outlet of choice. I can just go home again and be me, but Peaches will always be Peaches and thank God for that.

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When people ask me what music I am in to, I find it very hard to give a definitive answer because, throughout my life I have been in to all kinds of different music from House to Heavy Metal depending on how old I was, what I was doing at the time and the kind of people I was hanging out with. So I can safely say I am open to most things as long as it’s good but obviously that is entirely subjective and open to interpretation, which I guess is what Silent Radio is all about. However, I would say that overall my alliances lie with Electronic Music because it covers so many genres and is constantly developing and changing. Having just returned from Sonar I felt a warm glow being surrounded by so many people who appreciate Electronic Music but there were times when I became a little jaded and questioned its integrity especially after seeing Katy B perform for the 3RD TIME! Will Katy B still be remembered in six years? I doubt it. But I guess that is the nature of Pop Music in particular; some stand the test of time, some don't. I think having grown up and lived in Manchester my musical tastes have been influenced by the club scene post- hacienda and the music at nights like Electric Chair which encompasses the sounds of House, Detroit Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. Basically anything with a groove, I like. But this is not confined to Dance Music I particularly like bands that are melodic and have a hook such as Wild Beasts, music that captures an emotion and has a heart. While at University I was also listening to music that didn’t really have much of a heart but more of a pacemaker in terms of the emotion it conveyed and that was Electro-Clash, a completely non- sensical and at times ridiculous genre that borrowed elements from House, Italio Disco and Techno and re- formed them in to one fun, but ridiculous package. While at University, I had my own radio Show where I tried to convey some of my musical tastes acquired from up north and had guest DJ's from a night in New Cross called Zombie Disco, with Jamie from Zombie Disco now working with Lindstrom. We also borrowed the services of Rina from Ladytron who had a guest DJ slot. Anyhow, I think it is safe to say I like a wide range of music apart from Katy B, sorry Katy.