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SHOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF

The Tiger Lillies want to make you sad and remorseful for the holidays

?I don?t enjoy pissing people off for the sake of it,? says Martyn Jacques, leader of provocative British cabaret-influenced trio, Tiger Lillies.

http://www.nypress.com/20/49/music/music.cfm


The Tiger Lillies want to make you sad and remorseful for the holidays


By Saby Reyes-Kulkarni


?I don?t enjoy pissing people off for the sake of it,? says Martyn

Jacques, leader of provocative British cabaret-influenced trio, Tiger

Lillies.


Apparently, pissing people off is something that Jacques and the band

know all too well. With lyrics that frequently touch on, er...sensitive

themes such as child murder, lurid sex (sometimes involving payment)

and bestiality (one of Jacques? favorites), audiences routinely express

their dismay by yelling, walking out and throwing things at the stage.


On the other hand, some people get the Tiger Lillies and become

positively giddy with praise. Among them have tended to be other

artists, which accounts for the band?s numerous collaborations with

theater companies, choreographers, filmmakers and even the late

illustrator Edward Gorey, who shared his unpublished manuscripts with

the band for them to use as the basis for songs shortly before his

death. So the Tiger Lillies stand to fare well at St. Ann?s Warehouse

during their three-night engagement of their appropriately depraved

holiday show, Suicide for Christmas, which features songs from new

albums Urine Palace and Love and War.


Unlike many artist-provocateurs, Jacques neither evades discussion of

the impact his work might have on others nor plays it up too much.


?If I am pushing buttons in people?s psychology,? he says, ?then

perhaps I am doing a good job as an artist. I think perhaps the worst

kind of artist is the one that sends people to sleep, or perhaps the

one who doesn?t really communicate anything but confusion. Perhaps they

call themselves enigmatic or abstract, but I think it?s more likely

that they really haven?t got anything to say.?


He is quick to distinguish the Tiger Lillies from shock jocks.


?I am really trying to take people on a journey around various aspects

of the human condition,? he explains. ?I do want to provoke and shock,

but I also want to make them feel sad, remorseful, guilty, happy...?


Though celebrated and reviled for its shock aspect, the band?which also

includes Adrian Stout on standup bass and Adrian Huge on drums?works

within a tradition popularized by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, where

high-minded theatrical and literary craftsmanship coalesced with gutter

sensibilities under an umbrella of black comedy. With its whiteface,

bowler hats, falsetto vocals and exaggerated physicality, the Tiger

Lillies? act evokes Weimar-era Berlin but also introduces, as the band

describes it, a punk twist.


That?s all good and fine, but what?s with all the bestiality references?


?I find it very curious, for example, that it is perfectly acceptable

to cut a sheep?s throat,? Jacques answers, ?but regarded in some

countries as a criminal offense to have sex with a sheep. We are a very

peculiar species with the many and varied sexual activities in which we

indulge. I am merely singing songs about some of these activities. If

someone chooses to be offended by them, are they not in some way

denying the existence of these activities? I really am not condoning

fucking sheep. Just the absurdity of it and the human condition in

general.?


And a merry Christmas to you, too.


Dec.-13-15. St. Ann?s Warehouse, 38 Water St., B?klyn; 718-254-8779; 8, $32.50.

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