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Friday, November 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 14.0° F  Overcast
Music
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Peaches gets juicy in Madison show at Majestic
Electroclash star slices, dices and wows on her first trip here
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View a dozen shots from the show in the gallery.
Credit:Jessica Steinhoff

Peaches is known for a number of things, but subtlety isn't one of them. Saturday night's show at the Majestic proved that the Canadian electroclash icon isn't just a gender bender but a gender blender, smashing the boundaries between male and female and grinding them into a sweet, juicy pulp.

What's more, she did the grinding with her hips, a half-naked band and some very phallic props. It's not the kind of thing you're likely to see at Jamba Juice, or most other establishments around town. Like the jingle from an old chewing gum commercial warns, juicy fruit is gonna move you.

First, it's going to make you dance, whether you like it or not. It may have also moved you to tears, to kiss the person next to you or to storm onto the stage in a drunken frenzy if you were part of last night's crowd.

If you're Peaches, fruitiness is likely to move you to flex your muscles on top of a drum set, dive into the crowd and scale the walls of the theater.

This spectacle doesn't work without a few warm-ups, though. The show's opener, one-man techno machine Drums Of Death, should consider renaming his act Eardrums Of Death given that he has no drums but so much bass that breathing and other bodily functions become difficult. Next, a rendition of the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself" -- sung by a children's choir -- gave people's lungs and eardrums a chance to recover while messing with their minds.

By the time Ms. Juicy Fruit arrived in a bubble of pink plastic, looking like a cross between a nectarine and a giant contraceptive sponge, the crowd was ready for a physical and psychological assault. Kicking things off with "Show Stopper," she made it clear that Madison was going to be her bitch -- even though she was just getting to know us.

When "Operate" rolled around three songs later, she was dangling from the upper railings of the venue, projecting bloodthirsty shadows onto the walls as she sang. She wasn't onstage long for the next number, surfing the crowd almost immediately after returning from the rafters -- until her roadie pulled her back like a large, writhing fish.

After she'd marked her territory, she began grabbing drinks from the audience, taking sips and evaluating their contents for peachiness, then disappeared for a bit as her guitar player -- who looked like a fetish-crazed Avril Lavigne -- ripped into a guitar solo that proved Peaches has some metal at her core in addition to electronics and pure theatrics.

Returning to the stage in a flowered bathrobe and a towel-wrapped head, Peaches looked ready to tell the crowd to get off of her lawn. Pretty soon, though, she was just instructing everyone to get off, hearkening back to her schoolteacher days in a twisted way.

In particular, there were quite a few visual effects, though they were quite different from the abstract, psychedelic video art of the Black Moth Super Rainbow show earlier this week. First, two videos of her crooning self were projected onto the wings of her costume; then she did a duet with a holographic version of Shunda K. of Yo Majesty for "Billionaire," a song from her new album, I Feel Cream.

In other words, the focus never strayed from the teaches of Peaches, no matter what style of presentation or genre of music she used. Whether she was dancing with haystacks of blonde hair ("Talk To Me"), bitch-slapping her own face ("Lovertits") or doing a laser-light show from her crotch, deconstructing power and masculinity was the lesson. But when it came down to it, the real question seemed to be not what a man is but who the man is. And the answer is quite clear: It's her.

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