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Bloody Splendid

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.

They

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

walked off.

Two encores later and the creepy evening of painted men playing demented jazz music had come to an end. What a (weird) night.

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