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Gig Review

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Peaches photographed by Tyler Shields. Stylist: Saha Hackett. Hair: Tamara McNaughton. Merrill Nisker is standing five feet away, but it's a bit difficult to recognize her with all her clothes on.

Nisker, better known by stage name Peaches, has just finished up a packed show at London Forum (13.10.06) and is now surrounded by fans, hangers-on, close friends and the occasional journalist. It's clear that she's tired from the show, and with good reason. Shouting out staples like F*** The Pain Away while clambering up onto the massive speaker stacks on either side of the stage throughout the show (not to mention her rather lengthy encore) would tire anyone out.

You might remember the aforementioned single from the strip club scene in Lost in Translation. This was hardly the first time Peaches' music made it into such an establishment. Her trademark sound is highly sexual: even the songs that aren't about sex feel like a musical double entendre. Her stage performance reflects the subject matter: at the start she was only wearing a purple sequined leotard but this didn't last long. For most of the show she strutted suggestively around the stage in only her lingerie. Even her voice has an unabashed and untamed quality that would sound equally appropriate in a bondage porn film.

Her uninhibited performance was actually somewhat inspiring to see. It seemed clear that Peaches loved performing, and the audience was more than willing to respond in kind. The Forum was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with revellers bouncing wildly, straining to get a better look at their scantily clad seductress. Everyone likely has their own favourite: Two Guys (For Every Girl) seemed especially popular with, well, you can guess who would benefit most from that arrangement.

Writing out her lyrics would be a disservice to her stage presence. To actually spell out what she sings in the song Rock Show (that is, mostly variations on the ultra-subtle “rock show/you came to see a rock show” theme) would tear the line away from her voice and bleed it dry. Needless to say, the audience doesn't come to the shows for poetry. It's about seeing an act that's strange, sarcastic, erotic and a little bit creepy, in that order.

Say what you will of her music, Peaches fans were half the fun of the show. It was utter pandemonium when songs like AA XXX or Operate came on; her songs usually don't have that many words and so even the drunkest fans can recite them by heart. It didn't matter that everyone watched her fumble the microphone after tossing it in the air. Instead, everyone simply laughed a little as she climbed down from her perch in front of the drummer to retrieve it.

In keeping with the mood of the show, a look of mild irritation mixed in equal parts with light-hearted embarrassment flashed across her face. It's the sort of humour that strikes a person inexpertly mucking around with a condom in front of an attentive audience of one. Or more, if you subscribe to the Teaches of Peaches.

- Nicholas Carter

Buy Impeach My Bush by Peaches at Amazon >>

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