Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reconsidering Peaches

From the first time I saw Peaches, I reached the conclusion that she was trading exclusively in shock value in the absence of any other discernible talent, that she had nothing going for her other than sexual provocation. If she didn't exist, someone would have to invent her if only as fodder for gender studies academics.

My basis for this opinion was established by my initial exposure to her, opening for Elastica at the Park West in Chicago in 2000. But I have been forced recently to rethink my assessment. Peaches was interviewed on the January 29 episode of Sound Opinions. Jim DeRogatis starts off by calling the performance "infamous." Peaches responds that it was her "worst show ever." DeRogatis continues by explaining that the venue has been around since the days of Al Capone, and they still talk about it as the single worst show in its history. She recalls that it was the fourth show of her first tour ever and she was experimenting on stage to develop her new persona.

In other words, to say that I caught her on an off night is an understatement. I'll have to be a little more open-minded about her work, although I'll stick with Patti Smith for upending expectations of female performers.

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