The Tiger Lillies: Hear Them Growl!

...Brace yourselves for their imminent visit to our shores within the next few weeks. Get your tickets now, for you will want to someday tell your grandchildren about how you witnessed their twisted original artistry.

by VeroniqueChevalier (writer), October 7, 2007, published in BrooWaha Los Angeles

Perhaps you've heard of the Dresden Doll  and their "Punk"

Cabaret. This incendiary duo is taking the world by storm with their

eclectic merging of rock and dark chanson. Not to belittle their

considerable accomplishments, but they are not quite the innovators

many would believe them to be.

Oh no, dear me, indeed not! In this case, we must brace ourselves for a

British invasion, the sort of which has not been seen in recent memory.

For the true champions of the tormented spirit of Bertholdt Brecht and

Kurt Weill hail from that island nation so infamous for its abundance

of musical madmen: the UK.

The ensemble in question? The Tiger Lillies. Brace yourselves for their

imminent visit to our shores within the next few weeks. Get your

tickets now, for you will want to someday tell your grandchildren about

how you witnessed their twisted original artistry.

According to Wikipedia the Tiger Lillies are: "...A three-piece band,

based in London, featuring Martyn Jacques- Vocals, accordion, ukulele,

piano; Adrian Huge - Drums, percussion, toys; Adrian Stout - Contra

bass, musical saw, vocals.

Formed in 1989, they have toured world-wide and won acclaim with their

opera Shockheaded Peter. (My note: Shockheaded Peter is an Edward

Gorey-esque treatise of what happens to naughty little boys and girls,

and is most definitely not suitable for the kiddies).

Their surreal style has been described as darkly humorous, Brechtian,

gypsy cabaret. They are also notorious for singing controversial songs

involving bestiality, prostitution and blasphemy, shocking unsuspecting

audiences. In 1999 their work was featured in the film Plunkett &


The Tiger Lillies were nominated for a Grammy award for their 2003

album The Gorey End, which was a collaboration of sorts with the

writer/illustrator Edward Gorey and the Kronos Quartet."

From what I've seen of them on YouTube, and heard from friends and

associates who have witnessed them live, they are brilliant and

original. How many musical ensembles have you previously encountered

who bill themselves as "...A criminal castrati and his accordion driven

anarchic Brechtian street opera trio performing their unique mix of

falsetto crooning and gypsy strangeness"? (As described on their


But wait, there's more! They also recently released a book containing

over 200 sets of lyrics from all the songs found on their 16 recordings

over the entire span of their career. The book is illustrated by the

images of photo aritst "b7ue" who followed and documented the band the

entire time.

The resultant tome, with its pristine white and softly padded cover

(vaguely reminiscent in feel to a cushy toilet seat, which is an apt

metaphor to contain what is within its pages) is a veritable time

capsule of these living, breathing "Fleurs de Mal". The front section

of the book shows the lads in the early days, looking really rather

dapper about the edges, but as time and tides take their toll, we find

the fellows looking not too unlike Kurt Weill's hapless "Drowned Girl",

a bit bloated and worse for the wear.

Never fear, for what they now lack in dash, they more than make up for

in sheer stage presence and audacious antics. Unlike poor Marion Jones,

I rather doubt that they dope themselves up in order to fuel their

world-class performances. (This is not to imply that they might not

tipple, snort or puff on various and sundry substances on occasion,

however their shows never betray any deviation from their commitment to

delivering their artistry in the most energized, unapologetic and

in-your-face manner).

And so how many ''criminal castrati" does it take to fill The Swedish

American Hall in San Francisco, Sushi Performance and Visual Art, in

San Diego, or Royce Hall on the UCLA campus on October 30th, November

2nd and November 3rd, respectively?

Only one, if his name is Martyn Jacques, and he is flanked by two

fellows, one Huge and one Stout. Get your tickets today, and if you are

in LA, do come over and introduce yourself to me on November 3rd, where

I will be attending their UCLA Live! performance as a member of the

press. I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity witness their first LA

appearance, and to record it for all posterity, (or perhaps for others

to read to their grandchildren).