As I approached the Rialto, an imposing neo-Baroque theater in the heart of the Mile End neighbourhood, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Peaches. After watching her provocative videos on Youtube, I knew the Canadian electronic artist aimed to shock people. But, I wondered, after two decades in the music business, could Peaches maintain the raunchy on-stage shenanigans she’s famous for? As it turns out, the Rialto’s opulent façade foreshadowed the sexually-charged debauchery that was to come.
After DJ Frankie Teardrop’s techy warm-up DJ set from high up in one of the Rialto’s loges, Radiant Baby, AKA Montreal’s Félix Gauthier Mongeon, took the stage and delivered an energetic solo performance. Mongeon, dressed all in white, was on stage with a rack of synths and a DIY light brite-inspired light show. It was just the right amount of retro-cheesy 80s-inspired synth-pop. Mongeon closed with a brilliant cover of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed,” a rockin’ party tune that brought the crowd to their feet.
Radiant Baby was cool, but I’m sure almost everyone in the venue was there for one reason: Peaches. The show began promptly at 10pm as two dancers appeared on stage dressed in hairy sasquatch costumes. When Peaches emerged in the same hair coverings to perform the electro-banger “Rub,” the venue erupted. Despite lines like, “Can’t talk right now this chick’s dick is in my mouth,” I soon found out that this was the relatively “clean” part of the show. For the rest of her 75-minute set, Peaches and her two dancers descended into a kinky bacchanal wearing various erotic outfits.
During “Vaginoplasty,” for example, the dancers donned over-sized vagina-shaped masks. Vaginoplasty is a vaginal tightening surgery, and as you can see in the NSFW video, pussy is quite obviously the theme here. With their faces poking through through the masks, the dancers sensually rubbed the walls of their giant vaginas. Were these masks models of Peaches own punani? After all, as the song says, she was “blessed with big big big lips.”
Then, a giant, transparent, inflatable dick that extended about five rows into the crowd came out, and Peaches climbed in to perform “Dick in the Air” from inside the massive phallus. I admit, she does entertain, and lyrics like, “balls, balls, dick, dick, balls and dick” are juvenile, but hey, the crowd loved it, and electronic music is too serious and could use some nasty fun.
The set was as raunchy as I thought it would be, but the music felt subservient to the performance aspect of the show. Peaches didn’t use a band or DJ, choosing to run the music herself. Normally I wouldn’t care, but in this case it seemed as if the beats were just an afterthought to the onstage antics. During the encore tune “Light in Places,” with the dancer’s crotches lit up like a Christmas tree, I wondered to myself if anyone actually listens to this music without all the sexy visual bells and whistles.
Written by Rob Coles
Photography by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Kate Erickson