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Tiger Lillies' odious adventures

The Tiger Lillies returned to Bimbo's on Wednesday, Nov. 13, where they delivered a set that covered the odious and putrid sides of human nature.

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Beth Lisick: Buzz Town
Tiger Lillies' odious adventures;

by Beth Lisick, special to SF Gate

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

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"I'm lying in a pool of piss," trilled Martyn Jacques of the London cabaret act the Tiger Lillies,

as the table next to me joined in singing along with him. When a band

attracts the kind of crowd -- KQED moms in Central American jewelry,

leather-clad Eurogeeks, clean-cut heteros on dates and many of those

Sonoma County free spirits who are equal parts back-to-the-land, Ren

Faire and late-'70s Manhattan -- the Lillies did last Wednesday at Bimbo's, they obviously have no regard for a cohesive target market.

With

songs that delve face-first into the odious and putrid sides of human

nature, the band has built up a loyal Bay Area following since they

first played the Hotel Utah to a handful of people a few years back.

(This is thanks in part to their darkly comical theater piece "Shockheaded Peter,"

which reportedly sent agents and moneyed producers into a frenzy trying

to figure out how to get a piece of the "abuse and torture" crowd.)

And while there's no doubt that the way the band turns each song into a mini production of despair, with bassist Adrian Stout and percussionist Adrian Huge

often regarding Jacques as a filthy chancre who has commandeered the

stage with his whiteface and eerie operatic falsetto, after two sets

the "despicable and upsetting" angle began to wear a little thin for

me. When one song uses the alphabet ("A is for arsenic," etc.) and

another uses the days of the week ("On Monday I will lop off your

feet," or something to that effect), I start to feel that the band,

after trawling through the seedy waters of life, are starting to come

up with a bunch of old boots. Despite this, most of the ballads are so

riveting that even the crowd, hell-bent on the tongue-in-cheek misery,

completely stopped their tittering and shared a somber bout of extended

applause.

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