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‘Burlesque n. an artistic work, literary or dramatic, satirizing a subject by caricaturing/bawdy comedy (Collins). Neo-burlesque n. acts (that) can be anything from classic striptease to modern dance to theatrical mini-dramas to comedic mayhem. As with the earlier burlesque, neo-burlesque is more focused on the “tease” in “striptease” than the “strip”. Audiences for neo-burlesque shows tend to be mixed gender, age, race, and class.’ (Wikipedia).

Valerie Vegas

Which, essentially means you can go to the Hare on a freezing February night and watch a fulsomely voluptuous dame get her titivatingly titilating sequined-tasseled kit off (virtually) and not feel politically incorrect because it’s Art and retro-ironic. And anyway, your partner’s open minded – and they needs be watching how those tattoos slither beguilingly down the artiste’s spinal canal as the backing band grind-cover The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’. Alas no snake tonight – shame that. Must be the cold and it needing somewhere warm to nestle (legally).

Valerie Vegas

Therefore, please welcome on stage VV. Fulsome, suspender basquing in chevron-shocking stocking delight, Valerie Vegas was indeed a sight to behold and gave ample opportunity for sounds wizard John to bathe her in all sorts of illuminatory splendor showing-off the Hare’s latest lighting rig. It’s hip to strip and you have to say how those hips sashay sway!

Robert Lane

Set opener, Robert Lane, is a stalwart singer/songwriter troubadour of the honest kind plying his craft tonight in a solo capacity. (GJ look forward to reviewing his current album, with band, ‘Any Place You’d Like To Know’). There’s engaging nuances of 60s Bob Lind chord structures (Check out ‘Mr. Zero’ and perhaps ‘Elusive Butterfly’ – but not the Val Doonican cover for Christ’s sake!). With finger-picking percussive beats and a flair for vocal subtlety Lane can seamlessly segue from alt.Swing Blues to Bosa-Nova Jazz with élan. Make a note of this chap.

Setlist: 4 Years / Very Own Way / Pessimistic Me / Been Us / Lost -But I Don’t Care / We Adjusted / Wee Wee Hours (cover).

Tara Chinn

Flighty gossamer stage drapes bathed in Parisian boudoir red spot-lights and swathes of smoke-machine mists welcome local heroine, Tara Chinn, (yes, little sis is Cat Chinn, imagine the bathroom before a double-act? Nightmare!) She’s a one-gal power band with a husky vocal range and resonance sufficient to make the eyes water and the heart to melt. Think Freddie Mercury with ‘Cabaret’ Sally Bowles. She’s graciously slick, earthily chic and modestly ablaze. With an acoustic guitar exuberance referencing the Flamenco flair of Jose Feliciano’s cover of ‘Light My Fire’ and a power-Soul/Country Patsy Cline saucy melancholy she’s a ‘Cigarettes & Gin’ soaked jilted torch-song diva deluxe. Of course I would say that – I used to teach her and her dad’s a mate!

Setlist: Strangers / Fool For You / Easier / All I Want Is You / Cigarettes & Gin / I’m In Love.

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Reprise: Valerie Vegas feather-flirting her ostrich-plumes with discreet abandon to a dirty low-down cover version of ‘Jumping Into The Big Blue Sea.’ Gosh, isn’t Sin fun?

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Joanna Briggs – hmm! Her fish-net suspender stockings, kitsch cute bell-boy hat and double-buttoned breath-defying basque had me thinking Peter Gabriel and Prince, with the latter at his most disgustingly sublime erotomanic best. Her impossibly Michelangelo sculptured shoulders and mouth of Hades mascaraed eyes are an intoxicating incantation of desire. The alt. dominatrix danger Babe stage persona, bathed in ersatz Lucozade laser light and backed by a slut-bucket brutal cool band are a fearful delight. But, at the same time, there’s a seductive venerability. Imagine Debbie Harry and Captain Beefheart stroking a hungry tigress. At this gig your imagination was allowed to run wild. Feral fun for grown-up children.

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Setlist: Holding Back / Addicted To You / Spiders / Free / Stay With Me (Hold Tight) / Boy / 5 Minutes / Another Lover / Nightmares.

Gig Review by John Kennedy
Gig Photography by Ian Dunn

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