A real gem
Fuck Britney Spears. Christina Aguilera, eat your heart out. Gwen Stefani, doubt this. When it comes to costume-changing, mic-rocking, ass-shaking divas, none of them holds a candle to Leslie Hall
, at least as far as we’re concerned. The bedazzled leader of Leslie & the Ly’s
slayed the packed house at The Basement Saturday night, capping one of the more outrageous Nashville evenings in recent memory. Kicking things off was The Mattoid
, who got his Finnish freak on early with a stripped-down set that tapped the ABBA catalog, praised Satan and provided the anthemic yet pithy chorus, “We’re the cocksuckers, baby. We want to suck your cocks.” Next up, queer co-ed hip-hop duo Robo Sapien
stormed the stage, recalling the old-school grooves and good-time vibe of the Beastie Boys. Invigorating as they were, we could have done with a couple less songs. Then Leslie & Co. took the stage and, after a brief technical glitch, weaved, bobbed and frolicked through a set of gut-busting hip-hop hilarity that had eyes transfixed, jaws dropped and cameras flashing. “I love Music City!” Leslie exclaimed, adding, “Too bad I’m going to destroy it with my crushing beats.” Backed by a video screen that featured everything from Tommy Smothers hawking yo-yos to breast-milk-pumping instructional videos, she captivated the masses, combining considerable wit with hysterical moves that had people looking at each other in disbelief. One disturbingly excited woman who had driven up from Alabama stood on the side stage for most the show, singing the lyrics along with the band and looking like she’d just touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. But after seeing Leslie for ourselves, we can understand this sort of devotion. Sure it’s shtick—but a brilliant shtick that didn’t get old. Overheard by The Spin’s women’s-room correspondent: “Where’s your gem sweater? For Leslie you’ve got to bring the bling” and “We’ll have to drink more before we go to Waffle House.”
From the Buzz Bin Files
When How I Became the Bomb
finally came on at the Basement Friday, it was about 45 minutes later than they’d promised, likely a shrewd ploy to let the crowd’s excitement heat up. Aspiring ’Boro bands should take note, since you usually have to bring twice the heat to compete with your Nashville counterparts. The show, which also featured D. Striker
(a.k.a. Jeff Meltesen) and the new Ghostfinger side project Snakerider
, was a release party for RR, a zine published by Meltesen every Friday the 13th since 1998. HIBTB play fun electro-pop songs about war and secret identities. The set ran through material heavy on robotic beats, hypnotic synths and fist-raising declarations of manhood, all from charismatic singer Jon Burr
, who wasn’t afraid to wear tapered, flag-themed pants or what appeared to be a Members Only jacket. Their music was exhilarating, not only for its vitality, but for its carefree abandon. It’s damn refreshing to see a band around here that doesn’t take itself so seriously—think Devo without the subversive undertones. Backed by members of Carter Administration and Ole Mossy Face, D. Striker played an energetic set of rootsy country heavy on satire. Upping the parody level considerably were Snakerider, who deafened the crowd with a heaping scoop of unadulterated rock ridiculousness. The band worked the campy metal thing hard, imploring the crowd to “ride the snake.” And if anyone tries to tell you that lead singer Richie Kirkpatrick
didn’t look sexy in his midriff-revealing, baby-blue kids’ pajamas with footballs and flames on them, they’re either blind or lying.
The Carey Ott/Sleeping in the Aviary
double-bill at The Basement last Thursday wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven—the former’s MOR sound and the latter’s frenzied, offbeat rock blended about as well as Hershey’s chocolate and pickled herring. Ott, who recently moved from Chicago to Nashville to record his debut for Dualtone, drew a sizable crowd, and his songs were engaging and well-constructed, though a little safe. Just as we were thinking we could see The OC’s Ryan and Marisa necking to one of his tunes, Ott announced that he’s having a song featured on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (melodramatic doctors as opposed to hormonal socialites). After Ott’s set, much of the room cleared out, and the folks who left before Sleeping in the Aviary took the stage should kick themselves—hard. Raw, punky and a little nerdy, the young Madison, Wis., band played hard and fast, sweating and even panting a little bit. Their songs were surprisingly catchy, and they threw in some odd covers like Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party,” which worked perfectly as a punk tune (because what is punk if not badass whining). Our one complaint would be their tendency toward brevity; some of their songs clock in at well under two minutes, like the infectious 45 seconds of grungy guitar with singer Elliott Kozel repeating over and over, “Maureen doesn’t like me anymore.” Before we knew it, the tune was over and we were left wondering, “who is this Maureen anyway and why doesn’t she like you anymore?”
Shows this week
• Barely into her 20s, former Nashvillian Lennon Murphy has already been run through the music-biz machine: at the age of 15, she first earned attention for her piano-powered ballads in the key of Tori Amos, then released a grinding techno-metal record on Arista Records, before working her way out of her major-label contract. Since then, she’s continued writing, recording and touring relentlessly, and of late she’s shed some of her metal-queen pretensions. For the last couple years, she’s been working on her album Damaged Goods, set to come out this May on John Galt Entertainment, the label she formed with her manager, Jeff Pringle. When she plays 12th & Porter this coming Wednesday, Jan. 25, she’ll be previewing material from the record, which strikes a more contemplative note compared to earlier songs like “Property of Goatfucker.” She’ll share the bill—and a two-month tour—with Shannon Curfman, another singer-songwriter wunderkind who’s been at it since her teens.
• Sure, Fugitive Glue
may include some of Nashville’s finest studio rats and road dogs—their combined résumé includes stints with Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, Over the Rhine, yadda yadda—but their 2005 disc Mateo is far more cohesive, entertaining and rocking than your typical “supergroup” vanity project. Featuring Eliot Houser
, Rick Plant
, Michael “World Wide” Webb
and Craig Wright
, the FuGlu boys bring their biting satire and bitchin’ hooks to Douglas Corner on Saturday.
• Lynn Manderson
releases her latest CD, Blue in the Sun
, at the Americana Tonight showcase, Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Douglas Corner. Bass player Byron House
, who’s worked with the Dixie Chicks, Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton to name a few, produced the record, which ranges from boot-scootin’ honky-tonk to gospel soul.
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