rnI knew my trip to New York was going to be good when I bumped into my all time hero and legend Arthur Baker at the airport. Sometimes it’s not good to meet your heroes – they often turn out to be superficial egomaniacs. Mr Baker on the other hand is one of the sweetest dance gurus you could hope to meet (go grab his Arthur Argent single). I knew then my journey had been blessed.
While in NY I caught many acts at the Electroclash festival (spread out over five days in Manhattan and Brooklyn) – or Electrocash if you’re one of my bitchy New York friends. All my favourite revellers/noise makers were there: Felix Da Housecat, Soulwax, Erol Alkan, Mo Morris, JoJo DeFreq, Midnight Mike, Richard Norris, Arthur Baker, JoJo Americo and Paul Alexander from the Ones and of course Larry Tee who was the most charming master of ceremonies.
Of the acts; some were good, some interesting and some criminally awful. Quite a few amateur theatrics which might have charmed in a small club but on a big stage were like watching groups play at your school disco. Lots of miming and CDs getting stuck mid mime. Having said that, I must say I felt constantly entertained in one way or another. I think the balance of the good, the bad and the ugly is what makes the festival much more pleasurable than going to, let’s say, Reading Festival. I recommend it highly. Trash from chaos!
Thankfully not everyone mimed (and I’m not that bothered if they did so long as they delivered). Of the good ones were the Ping Pong Bitches (who converted many a new fan in NY and had the magazines falling over themselves to feature them – they might use backing tapes but the vocals are live), Scissor Sisters (a great live band with great songs), Mount Sims (putting a bit of fonk and soul into the electronics with sleazy/arty dancers), Sophia Lamar (pure gorgeous spectacle), Bis (looking confident and old hands at the performing malarkey – although their hi-nrg sound did go on a bit) and Waldorf (perhaps more for their entertainment value: all leather metal-disco and Germanic epic-perfomance mayhem). But who was the King or Queen of the night? I’ll get to that in a minute.
There were probably many more prodigious acts that I missed. At one point we had to run between floors trying to catch The Scissor Sisters on one and Felix Da Housecat spinning on the other. Plus a new act would come on at fifteen minute intervals. Acts like W.I.T, who are so seductive in small intimate venues, didn’t have the same impact on a large stage. It also didn’t help that one of their members had left to be replaced by another blonde (the symmetry gone!).
But don’t let that discourage you, the demo CD I have of theirs is still getting heavy usage.
Wandered around joyfully with Droyds maestro Richard Norris soaking up the liquid-eyeliner-glamour-fit-fabulousness of it all (Richard’s catchphrase: “mime is money!”). Saw one of my favourite actresses looking all gorgeous and fucked up on heroin or downers or something. Ah the glitz, the fame, the pressure … the sleazy decadence. Been there, done it … survived. Wish I knew her better so I could have … well … I don’t know what. I guess she’ll get through it and come out strong the other side. It’s probably not a big deal anyway. She won’t be one of the tragic beautiful ones who takes the performance all the way. I guess.
Got grabbed by someone from behind. Turned around and it was Peaches. I was so surprised and pleased to see her, I greeted her and my chewing gum flew out of my mouth into her hair. For a split second, time froze as I pondered on my two choices: pick the gum out or leave it there and act like nothing had happened. Being the gent that I am I picked the gum out pretending I was admiring her hair conditioner and what brand exactly did she use?
Every once in a while each generation is given a performer/artist of such intensity that it feels they could only have come from another world. A metaphor for the times. Someone whose performance is so complete you cannot take your eyes off them; Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Johnny Rotten, Bjork. Well Peaches is without a doubt the chosen one for our times. Please do not think I am being irreverent when I write this. Her performance is supernatural. Everyone at the Electroclash festival knows this and those who do not love her, fear her. Am I going over the top? I feel I have toned it down. If she were a band she would be the Sex Pistols (Adult, would be the Clash, Ladytron: X-Ray Spex, Fischerspooner: the Damned, Scissor Sisters: The Buzzcocks, W.I.T.: Blondie, and the Ping Pong Bitches: The Slits. Any ideas who would be Siouxsie And The Banshees then please email me).
That week, Peaches (with assistance from accomplice Mignon) was without doubt King, Queen, Pope and High Priestess.
Mark A K Moore, keeping it surreal.