If you find the Tiger Lillies both creepy and entertaining, you're not alone writes Geoff Cowart. Review of Windsor Art Center Gig, November 26 2004
If you find the Tiger Lillies both creepy and entertaining, you're not alone writes Geoff Cowart
THE mark of a talented
group of musicians is an ability to summon up jaw-dropping tunes from
thin air. Such is the case with the Tiger Lillies.
chose the Windsor Arts Centre on Saturday night to display their
uncanny, if slightly unconventional, style of music-making, not to
mention kick off their European tour.
The trio, featuring
Slough-born Martyn Jacques playing piano and accordion, Adrian Stout on
bass and Adrian Huge playing percussion, spent most of their two-hour
performance conjuring drunken sailors, prostitutes with artificial
limbs and saints with knives buried in their backs. But subject matter
alone doesn't do the Tiger Lillies justice. The songs that the group
dream up are built around Martyn's unbelievable falsetto and their
kitschy caf?-style jazz.
The results are stunning and usually
quite unpredictable. Pinned between Adrian Stout?s groovy and
jazz-rooted bass work and Adrian Huge?s wacky yet propulsive drumming,
Martyn is able to take centre stage with his bizarre lyrics and totally
otherworldly singing. At times they were a lounge band of mimes gone
wrong, at others an Irish performance art group trying to win the
Turner Prize. But even Martin's grumpy, strangely-feminine singing took
second fiddle when Adrian Huge went on a rampage with his drum kit. It
started innocently enough, with a few props being utilised to keep the
beat, but quickly reached fever pitch when he whipped out a big plastic
bat and trashed his drum set in a moment of rock star rage.
These moments, when the Lillies transcended their make up and toilet
humour, showed a band in full-feathered maturity with a total grasp on
the effect they want to illicit from the crowd. The Lillies' dark art
is no better summed up than with their riotous rendition of Piss on
Your Grave, a combination of ribald humour with a chilling
down-to-earth reminder that, yes, you too are going to take up space in
the ground one day. However, you can't go on shocking people forever.
But before the crowd grew tired of the gig, the Lillies took a bow and
Two encores later and the creepy evening of painted men playing demented jazz music had come to an end. What a (weird) night.