Saturday, February 19, 2005

Dick the Phone, DJ Jester the Filipino Fist and Lederhosen Lucil.

(Arc Cafe, February 18)

So, Dick the Phone, what the hell has happened to you since I last saw you? Either you've found your groove or I've finally recognised it. You were great. In China MiƩville's King Rat, the Pied Piper is reincarnated as a London DJ, who uses deep house and break beats to control the audience for his own nefarious purpose: the beat is so insistent they simply MUST do his bidding. Your gig tonight was like that. No, you're not DJ's, you just have a drum and guitar, but by about the third song, I was up and dancing and nothing could stop me, not even the rather bulky fellow who kept lurching around me. I still have no idea what you were singing about, but maybe that doesn't matter, although I've heard your lyrics described as "resonant". But anyway, do another gig like tonight's and I'll buy your CD.

Of course, the main event was visiting Canadian Lederhosen Lucil, supported by DJ Jester the Filipino Fist. I must say, it was odd turning up to Arc to hear music I'd not heard for years: I don't know when I last listened to the Eagles. Since I've not listened to commercial radio since I had to put up with KCC in Whangarei, I can't have heard them for well over ten years. Music of that vintage featured strongly in his set: its interesting how there can be all these songs that you don't particularly like, but all it takes is a few bars and they come flooding back.

The star of the show was Lederhosen Lucil, with her trusty Yamaha which was name checked on pretty much every song. It was a bit of a punt going along to see her, as I'd heard a total of one of her songs, and that was during her R1 interview before the show. She's a classic entertainer, tricked out in lederhosen, speaking with a German accent but making me think of Swedish milkmaids, what with her super blonde pigtails and all. She covers a hell of a territory in her songs; rock'n'roll, '60s French swing, reggae/dub, straight reggae, electroclash, polka... and pumps them out at between 24 and 240 BPM. Yes, she tells you that kind of thing as part of her act.

The opening song was a cheery wee number called Throwing Up Leaves, it has a lovely bass line on the CD but that got a bit lost in the live version and is lyrically sharper than the upbeat style might make you think. Other songs I remember are the rock song about a ganglion(!), which was preceeded by her telling us what they are and challenging anyone from the audience who had one to come forward, another about automatic weapons of the world, the very slow (24 bpm) song which was basically her singing a French lesson about reflexive verbs(!), the one song I really couldn't keep up with because it was at 240 bpm, the electroclash song she devoted to all the mums in the audience (called Best Dishwasher I ever had) and the last song,
which was about textured vegetable product. To add entertainment value, she gave out prizes: a DJ Jester whoopie cushion and a Lederhosen Lucil frisbee.

I have to confess that when she had to sing a straight vocal like in that last song, her voice did let her down a bit. She was far stronger when there was no need to sing seriously and she could alternate styles from one phrase to the next, or she could use a more spoken word style. So, my favourite song was the Best dishwasher one: it and many others are on her website.

I love the whimsy of the lyrics, yet they're quite serious:
Its not easy to play the part when you
eat bean burritoes and you have to
Its not easy to look real good when
there's gum in your hair and its stuck to wood
And the wood is in your boss's backyard
at the company picnic but you just got fired...
It was nice having an evening back at Arc, my first time for the year, and my first full on dancing since the Onanon gig with the Chills in the Cook before Christmas. A lot of the familiar Arc crew turned out: even though none of them know me, it still feels like home. I could have done without the long interruptions when a woman the age of my mother kept talking to "Lucil", not heckling but having those embarrasingly inappropriate conversations that mothers seem to be particularly good at - I could see her daughter trying to pretend she wasn't even there.

Oh, and thanks to Mystery Girl for bringing her down, particularly to Dunedin, as we miss out a bit. Maybe you could get Ember Swift to come: she's more political, but has a very similar appeal.


Blogger Jessie said...

Ooh, I've got a ganglion! And I would have liked to win a frisbee, too.

9:02 AM  
Blogger harvestbird said...

I just missed a Lederhosen Lucil track when I turned on rdu the other day. I was gutted, after your write-up!

9:17 PM  

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