EVOL @ Invisible Wind Factory 11/11/16

It begins with our heroine dressed as a vagina and goes upwards from there. It begins in a safe space for all, a blank canvas about to be filled gratefully by those dressed as that heroine, or parts of her, and those not as brave, all of whom have waited a lifetime for this act to tour this town. It begins with a promise of something special and still gives you more than you dare expect.

It could only be here, in this particular mood, that we’re looking to PEACHES for a response to the personal and political energy lacking in others. Not answers so much as another reality, and it takes a proper artist to offer that. It’s embodied straight off in Rub, inspiring and unleashing a million responses. Peaches’ haircut alone has more charisma tonight than most acts, and there are copycat versions reflected back at her along with variants on her ‘organic’ stage threads and props. It’s the kind of scene that has birthed pop’s best subcultures, the ones that kept the flame alive in dark times, of which the present is one. IWF’s location is probably a boon here because, far from the fries and happy burgers, from the nightmares of Lime Street, people have really brought their A-game costume-wise and stated whom and just how dishonestly our as-yet-oblivious jailers are misrepresenting. Those Kazimier peeps knew what they were onto, didn’t they? Their exile here is revealed on nights like this as a liberation.

Such baggage can be borne only because the tracks carry the visuals and the visuals transport the tracks; the message is the medium, not vice versa, and few pop practitioners today are as playful or humorous as this in riding it out to and past your city’s limits. It isn’t the wisdom so much as the wit of Vaginoplasty that gets her past the door attendants of our minds. The rhythms and tones of How You Like My Cut, and of the lyrics in general (regardless of content) against beats alternately swaggering and hammering are the persuasive elements tonight and allow her to endure as, say, a feminist of her sphere. Face it, there’s almost nothing legal left that in that sphere hasn’t been passed off as feminist or flipped from patriarchy to subversion in a physical form that happens to comply with the status quo – as Peaches has put it previously: threatening nudity and saying nothing, whereas she’d rather get butt-naked, which she and her dancers are here, long before the feigned sex show (so graphic yet so non-gratuitous) of a furious, audience-led Fuck The Pain Away. It’s not for me to purport to mansplain feminism, or sexuality or body image, but it does no harm for a figurehead to keep suggesting and ridiculing what it perhaps isn’t. Peaches could reasonably argue she’s just a magnet for confrontation because she’s sane and they out there are all mad. The recognition here at IWF – the power here – speaks for itself.

Either that or you can’t beat crowdsurfing inside a giant inflatable phallus, squirting something liquidy out of the end, for winning over a crowd. Just genuine, irreverent, unexploitative mischief, which is in as short supply in accessible music (which this is) as reason is in politics at the moment. When a birthday cake arrives on stage, we’ve somehow forgotten the world outside. Here is Liverpool at its defiant best, the gig-going ritual at its most meaningful, the live spectacle being literally that, and the most universal of themes.

Makers of the pop of now and tomorrow – vocalists, performers, songwriters, roleplayers, magpies, The Young and self or critic-anointed relevant – go back to your constituencies and prepare for opposition. Look at your game, fatherfuckers: you’re being bested out of sight, and that tells us how relatively comfortably many of you fit within the power structures of 2016.

As of this show, Merrill ‘Peaches’ Nisker is 50 years old.

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