Peaches @ Brisbane Powerhouse
Peaches preaches inclusivity, diversity and love - and all were on display at Brisbane Powerhouse on Friday night. The sellout crowd consisted of people of all ages, gender identity and sexual orientation. Whatever their background everyone was there to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Peaches’ sophomore album The Teaches of Peaches, and to DANCE!
With a defiant metaphorical middle finger to ageism, the fifty-six-year-old Peaches shuffles on stage leaning on a zimmer frame wearing oversized nanna spectacles and slippers… titty slippers, that is, and a plushie vulva hat. Throwing off her pink coat she reveals a bra sitting well above her breasts and so the scene was set for a night of hyper-sexual punk-pop.
Firing up her Roland MC 505 Groovebox (the machine on which she wrote and produced the album all those years ago) she starts with Set It Off — the audience needing little encouragement to shout along “All right!“ — followed by Hot Rod. Over time she is joined by semi-naked, extremely talented musicians, specifically a guitarist and drummer.
The first of many costume changes sees the slippers replaced with sensible sneakers, and a sparkly purple hot pants suit with massive shoulder pads. Urging the audience in front of the stage to put their phones down and their hands up, she walks across the throng of adoring fans while belting out Diddle My Skittle. Further demonstrating that age is nothing but a number she performs a few well-executed squats above the crowd, before falling backwards with her legs in the air. She's then lovingly transported across hands back to the stage.
The next outfit is a black leotard emblazoned with Thank God for Abortion, bringing cheers with it. Strapping on a guitar she moves into Keine Melodien followed by Rock Show. There are dancers and contortionists throughout the set, who also change costumes and masks. Two of the dancers perform a synchronised strip-tease to Suck and Let Go, throwing dozens of pairs of knickers aside.
Another costume of a coat made from hot pink hot pants accompanies Sex (I’m A) and AA XXX. She tells us there are only two songs left from the album and then shouts “But I haven’t come all the way to Australia to only play for an hour!” before launching into Lovertits.
Along with more outrageous get-ups, including red assless chaps followed by an inflatable breast waistcoat and then a coat of five silicone boobs, we are fed a smorgasbord of Peaches’ back catalogue including Shake Yer Dix, Bodyline, Boys Wanna Be Her, Talk to Me, Pussy Mask and Vaginaplasty. This last song is accompanied by two topless dancers wearing huge hairy vulva masks jumping wildly about with mad Sia vibes, while Peaches calls on us to chant “Nasty!” and “set off the meter reader to see if BrisVegas really is the nastiest city in the world”.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the show was the now almost naked Peaches clambering through a huge inflatable translucent phallus for Dick In the Air, shooting aerosol silly string out of its tip at the end of the song. The encore was, of course, Fuck the Pain Away with Peaches and her crew popping bottles of champagne over the baying crowd.
Just when we thought it was all over, the icon treats us to a filthy-rendition of Jim Steinman’s power ballad It’s All Coming Back to Me Now (first recorded by Pandora's Box in 1989, later by Meat Loaf, but made famous by Celine Dion in 1996): “When I rim you like this… When you felch me like that…” The dirty lyrics may well have made Ms Dion blush, but our Peaches demonstrated that she can hold a note just as well as the diva herself.
An evening with Peaches is an incredible experience — from the insane costumes and stage sets to the wildly talented musicians and scantily-clad performers — validating that we all deserve personal freedom and self-expression.
- Dani Nash.