For each academic year since I’ve become a professor, the end of classes has been punctuated by a rock show. I have fond memories of sitting on the Carnegie-Mellon lawn in Pittsburgh, lazily watching a lukewarm set by Superchunk. Another year we drove to Cleveland to watch Shiner (one of my favorite bands at the time). And on and on. It’s true that my final isn’t for another week and a half, which means that I’m at least two and a half weeks from really being done. But the end of classes means you can taste it, and anyway, sometimes events are just special like that.
This year’s show was last night’s Lesbians on Ecstasy gig at Club Lambi. For those of you who don’t know, the Lesbians on Ecstasy concept is this: take songs written by other lesbians and cover them in a heavy, techno-rock style. The first album had Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, and other canonic figures. For the second album, launched last night, LonE went back to classic wimmin’s folksongs of the 1970s. But in covering them, the songs are totally transformed from earnest campfire empowerment to feel-good dancefloor butt shakers. The lyrics come off as positive and playful (which, granted they probably were the first time around, I just can’t take the earnestness of folksongs) and in their heavy dancefloor guise, many of the songs become positively anthemic.
As you might imagine, this kind of music is perfectly designed to be performed live in a packed club, with an audience that has a sizable queer/trans contingent. The place was absolutely on fire, the band was tight and they performed with the kind of swagger that most male indy rockers would be afraid to try and pull off these days. The lightshow was perfect, and I thought the whole building was going to collapse in on itself when the band brought out their own dancers with spray bottle shooters for “Jealous Mix” (a cover of Melissa Etheridge’s “Like the Way I Do” — it’s on their myspace page right now).
Footnote on Club Lambi: I went in expecting the place to be a complete dump based on Midnight Poutine’s review of the Xiu Xiu show there Wednesday, but apart from the sightline problem Susan noted (I’m a tall and fat indy guy, so I’m part of the problem, not the solution), the place seemed fine for a rock club. There was some seating, the sound was actually better than some Montreal clubs I’ve been to — unlike the National and La Tulipe (for instance), the opening band had a good mix as well as the headliners — and the men’s room wasn’t totally squalid (my standards have been lowered from years of going to shows).