June 8, 2007
The Pipettes are a very unique band, at times it’s hard to decide whether they’re suppose to be an over-the-top tongue-in-cheek representation of the manufactured pop sound or just a good-time early 60’s girl-group throwback band. Their stated mission (“to turn back the clock to a time before the Beatles ruined everything”) from when their demos were first released made this even more difficult to differentiate.
But after seeing them live last night, I’ve decided that when the orchestral swell begins to one of their songs and they begin their choreographed dance moves and back-and-forth singing style, none of that really matters because you’re having so much fun.
Before I get into that though let me touch base on the two openers. Monster Bobby was wasn’t the most exciting as a solo artist but managed to play a few enjoyable (and very short) tunes using a combination of loops and guitar. Smoosh put on a thoroughly awesome performance. The two highlights is when their little sister (who couldn’t be older than eight*) joined them on the bass to applause and gasps from the crowd, and when they began a note-to-note perfect rendition of Bloc Party’s “Modern Love”. The fact that the 13 year old drummer can even play Matt Tong’s drum parts are a testament to how great she is.
And then came the Pipettes, dressed in three different styles of polka dot outfit. It was surprising how much new material they are trying out on the road, all of it which sounded good, if not typical of their earlier work. The first great moment was when the Becky (the one with glasses) taught the crowd the finger-wag motion and began “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me”. Most of the crowd came ready to dance including Smoosh, who after their set stood right next to me and Celeste.
I decided for sure that Rose was my favorite after last night (the
“who’s your favorite Pipette” debate seems to be a popular one these days). Other than the obvious, Rose was the only one that played an instrument (keyboards) consistently throughout the night and she also had coolest outfit. Of course Gwenno and Becky both had their strong points as well, Gwenno’s being vocals/stage presence and Becky’s being humour/sweet dance moves.
The set highlights for me were “Dirty Mind”, “One Night Stand”, “The Burning Ambition Of The Early Diuretics”, and of course, “Pull Shapes”. By the time the the latter song was played, the crowd was in full-fledged jump up-and-down synchronized clapping mode, which made the experience that much more entertaining. The Pipettes ended the night with their theme song, which includes probably the most definitive and succinct statement about the band: “We are the Pipettes / And we’ve got no regrets /If you haven’t noticed yet / We’re the prettiest girls you’ve ever met.”
*as a commenter notes, Maia is actually eleven.