Last night Roo and I hit The Thornbury Theatre to see Tex Perkins and His Ladyboyz.
It was a retro chic, big night out for grown ups. I didn’t see anyone under 35 in the audience. More than a few couples had the same look of bleary eyed surprise as we did to be out after dark without kids, despite the broken sleep of the night before.
The Thornbury Theatre was the perfect venue. Once host to many a Greek wedding celebration as Minos Receptions, the space manages to be both theatrical and intimate. The foyer has a marble staircase and a powder-blue dome, chandeliers hang from the ceiling in the main room, and plaster bas-reliefs of Ancient Greek figures painted in gold decorate the white walls and ceiling.
Tex and the band blended in beautifully, wearing white suits, open-necked shirts, chest hair and gold necklaces.
Tex limbered up on stage – a tall, lanky man unfolding himself like a beach umbrella – before opening with a snarling rendition of ‘I’m not in love’ by 10cc.
Songs in the first set (‘No 1s’) rollicked from dodgy to deviant and included such classics (sic.) as ‘A little bit more’ by Dr Hook (‘You don’t need to be conscious to have sex’, quipped Tex), ‘Sweet 16’ by Billy Idol, ‘Hollywood 7’ by Jon English, and ‘Come Said The Boy’ by Mondo Rock.
Tex made a comment about having tried to write songs for 30 years before conceding there were already ‘such great songs out there’. He and the Ladyboyz ‘plundered the soft cock rock classics‘ to also bring us raunched up covers of ‘My love’ (Paul McCartney) and ‘You and Me’ (Alice Cooper).
The second set (‘No. 2s’) included ‘Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady’, ‘Do That Too Me One More Time’ and a slightly bent version of ‘The Pina Colada Song’ (If you like making love at midnight / with a dude in a cape). By this time the crowd was on it’s feet – at least, the chicks were – and daggy dancing on the sidelines.
There were two generous encores, with ‘Amazing’ by Alex Lloyd as the finale, as in You were amazing / We did amazing things / I was amazing / Fuckin’ amazing.
Tex is not as handsome as base player Pat Bourke or keyboardist James Cruickshank, but even taking the piss, his stage presence is mesmerising. Also intriguing to watch were Charlie Owen on synthesizers and Joel Silbersher on guitar. Owens looked like a blond Phil Spector; and Silbersher might have been the shortest Ladyboy, but he had the biggest gold medallion. Mild-mannered drummer Gus Agars rounded off the first-rate band.
My only quibble about the show is that while we got a lot of Tex’s bear growl and some impressive falsetto, there wasn’t much of the honey-tongued Tex, whose vocals on tracks like The Cruel Sea’s ‘Down Below’ or ‘You’re 39, you’re beautiful and you’re mine’ (from Tex, Don and Charlie’s All is Forgiven CD) make me go weak at the knees.
But I’m splitting hairs. I had a romantic night out with my baby, drinking fine wine and listening to the soundtrack of my youth. Roo loved it, and I felt inspired to post a music review on my blog. And that’s enough for a working (wo)man / what I am is what I am…