NEW YORK, NY—When artists are creative, they’re alluring. When they reveal themselves to be eccentric individuals, they’re intriguing. But when they prove to be completely out of their bloody minds, it makes for one hell of an entertaining gig. And Peaches’ show at Webster Hall was the zaniest, craziest, wildest and most insane show I have seen yet in New York. Not only was the crowd it attracted colorful as all hell, but Peaches, aka Merrill Beth Nisker, took fans on a riotous hour-and-a-half journey.
Black strappy boots, white tights, some sort of pink puffy costume, and a balaclava with small mirrors on it—this was just one of countless costumes she changed into and out of throughout her show. She wore everything from sparkly bathing suits, to a black and gold joker outfit, and even kinky forearm gloves that boasted hanging hair extensions. Well-known for creating electro-punk tunes that ooze with sexual imagery, Peaches’ gig, much like her music, played with gender roles and representation. Just to give you an example, she stroked a giant light stick as though it were a penis, and wore a flashing light at the front of her bikini to draw attention to her womanly parts. It was whacked, it was weird, and it was very difficult to digest. But at the same time, it was a lot of fun. The majority of the crowd spent most of the show picking their jaws up off the floor because just when you thought you’d seen it all, Nisker pulled out something different.
While I like the boldness and brashness of her music, seeing it come to life, and watching it being “played out” onstage was a bit too confronting for my liking. At the same time though, I must give her credit for putting everything—the acceptable and the shocking—under the microscope. While Nisker appears to live in a completely different world to the rest of us, there’s no denying she has guts. And a sense of humor. After one of her many costume changes, Nisker came out in a robe and had a sarcastic moment with the crowd. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” she told the crowd. “I know it’s hard to see me sentimental and in my housecoat, but I just want you to know how much I care, and how happy I am that you’re here. And I really hope that’s you’re with me for another 10 or 20 years. I don’t want to lose you.” Oh trust me, Peaches, you won’t be losing any of these fans.
Every single member of the crowd was either smiling, laughing or dancing. And chanting, too. Whether it was a “shake your tits” chant, or a “motherfucker” chant, Nisker did an excellent job of getting everyone geared up and pretty into her show. The highlight track was “Talk to Me,” a song off her newest delivery I Feel Cream. While this gig didn’t leave me feeling particularly good—I think I was more gobsmacked and a bit shell-shocked—I needed it. Every so often it pays to not just be taken out of your comfort zone, but to be jerked into another time and place entirely. In a weird way, experiencing a world that is so far removed from reality can be a pretty good reality check when it comes down to it.
I wouldn’t recommend Peaches for everybody, but if there’s any part of you that is naughty or daring, give her a shot. While Nisker’s performance might make your stomach churn, she’s guaranteed to also blow your mind.