Politically charged dance-rock trio plays packed show at Peabodyƒ_™s Down Under

Ben Breier

Credit: Beth Rankin

Conservative ideals were incinerated at the stake when Le Tigre headlined a political show filled with feminism and liberal principality last Saturday at Peabody’s. 

The show opened with Be Your Own Pet, a teenage garage band straight out of high school in Nashville, Tenn. Upon first glance, these kids looked like indie-rock hipsters in the making — could they deliver music outside of typical high school efforts?

Shortly after getting on stage, lead singer Jemina Pearl spat forth some brash and energetic vocals while simultaneously fluttering on stage at the pace of a hummingbird hooked on caffeine pills. It seemed as if Be Your Own Pet had been practicing their brand of in-your-face rock-and-roll for decades. Bands who are seriously lacking some stage presence (Eisley, for example) would do well to take a few lessons from Be Your Own Pet, because these kids rock harder than Star Jones at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Following Be Your Own Pet was Electrelane, and any joy you might have experienced during Be Your Own Pet’s set was quickly siphoned out like an enema at lightning speed. Electrelane consisted of four British females performing trip-rock variations of the introduction of Coldplay’s “Politik,” while lead singer Verity Susman released incomprehensible nothings into the microphone and smashed random keys on her keyboard like a gleeful 5-year-old. 

After a set that was far too long, Electrelane left the stage and the audience was left to wait for Le Tigre to show up on stage. Waiting half an hour for a band to appear on stage is a bit lengthy, but when you’re pressed against some of the most sweaty people in the universe waiting for the band you’ve come to see, tension runs high and patience wears thin.

Suddenly, the lights went down, and there they were — the girls of Le Tigre in all their glory. Arriving on stage with color-coordinated pink outfits, it didn’t take long for the band to start rocking out, opening up with a great performance of “On The Verge” off of their latest album This Island.

Le Tigre’s performance was accompanied by a series of streaming videos set in the background, usually consisting of little skits featuring the band members playing various roles. For the most part, the videos were cute and witty little displays of feminism and liberal standards.

The concert was not made for conservatives or those who can’t ditch their political standards at the door. This became decidedly apparent when Le Tigre changed garb from matching pink dresses to matching “Stop Bush” outfits, after which they jammed out to “Seconds” (a hateful song aimed at our President) and “New Kicks.”

Le Tigre had great stage presence, but some bits and pieces seemed a little bit rehearsed. While the spontaneous dance sequences were comical and fun to watch, you could almost see Kathleen Hanna count the steps in her head, her eyes pointing up towards her brain every time she was required to dance.  

Although Le Tigre’s performance was everything that I had hoped it would be as a fan of the band, the set list was incredibly poorly chosen. For a band who seems to be very in-touch with its fan base, Le Tigre selected a very random set that showcased some of its more lackluster songs. Feminist Sweepstakes, more or less viewed as the red-headed stepchild of the band’s albums, had more songs performed than the band’s infinitely superior self-titled debut.

It was blatantly clear what the Le Tigre girls were trying to do — cover as many songs with a political message as possible. Even if you’re someone who stands against the majority of conservative ideals, you can only hear anti-Bush propaganda so much over the span of an hour before getting a little bit annoyed with the repetitiveness of the message.

We get it, Le Tigre — you really don’t like Republicans. That’s fine by your fans, which should be blatantly obvious, since everybody here doled out 15 bucks to see you. Now, instead of playing your 10th song about feminism, could you play some of the more catchy songs that brought your audience here in the first place?

Apparently not, because songs such as “Let’s Run,” “My My Metrocard,” “Eau d’Bedroom Dancing” and the excellent cover of the Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited” were curiously omitted from Le Tigre’s mediocre set list.

For the casual fans of Le Tigre, this concert probably hit the spot — the band’s performance was an uncanny display of “grrl” power only Le Tigre could accurately convey. A second viewing is recommended with reservation. Hopefully, Le Tigre can put together a much better group of songs the next time they decide to tour the Cleveland area and not let terrible bands like Electrelane tag along.

Contact general assignment reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].