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Peaches


Merrill Nisker, best known under her Peaches moniker, is hardly the image of the elementary school teacher she was some years prior. She has swapped her educational attire for skimpy leotards and thigh-high stockings and now waves about phallic objects rather than rulers. If only the kids could see her now.

  

I have been fortunate enough to see Miss Nisker perform on two occasions this week, the first at the Parklife festival on Sunday and now for the second time this evening at The Palace. From flashing lights that draw attention to her ‘favourite body part' to clambering onto speakers (much to the dismay of the venue's security), her notoriety for outlandish onstage theatrics ensures for a memorable show. It seems that you never know what you are going to get with her. In hindsight not quite the case, seeing as her set this evening replicated her performance at the festival three days earlier. Same set list, same onstage banter, same costume changes. So her erratic antics are rehearsed after all. Regardless, the performance is just as entertaining second time round. Before us she stands at a mere 5-foot-3 and she is most definitely all woman - despite her not-so-feminine fro-hawk-mullet haircut. With profanity-drenched lyrics about body parts that would make your mother and father blush, she certainly has a big mouth for someone of her stature.

  

The electro clash extraordinaire and her ‘sweet machine' are disguised in wrestling masks when they emerge. Heavy synths echo through ‘The Palace' for track ‘Hit It Hard' and it is during ‘Operate' that her crazy antics begin. Like a gymnast on a beam, she climbs onto the fence between the photographers and the audience and balances precariously as she walks back and forth. An over-excited girl in the crowd is handed the microphone to assist with the lyrics "just keep it going", making the audience a part of the Peaches spectacle.

  

Crowd pleaser Shake Yer Dix sets the room gyrating with women of all bust sizes shaking their chests. Peaches' love for all things phallic was embodied in some weird electric distortion stick she was using to make noise, which she had also brought along to Parklife in her bag of tricks. Another must-have accessory onstage throughout the set is the oh-so-sexy femme wearing barely anything but the guitar she's playing. The thumping drums, dark distortion and heavy guitar lines of Boys Wanna Be Her bring back fond memories of listening to ACDC as a young thing. With Nisker grinding against her female counterpart on guitar, Peaches brings every man's dream to life. This also explains the disproportionate number of female couples I have observed glancing about the room. And then things start to get a little funky, as some electro is thrown into the mix - she seems to be paying tribute to 80s Madonna or Prince here. Fittingly, she dons a shiny gold batwing cape that looks as if it was from that very decade. A dancer of hers called Billie - whom Nisker first met in Australia – is also brought out for some added sex appeal.

  

Yet another costume change leaves the leading lady looking stark naked in nothing but a skin coloured leotard and adorned with oversized gold bling around her neck. It was time for Set It Off, as she proceeded to adventurously climb atop the speakers and command "shirts come off" to the audience. Everyone responded accordingly, with a sea of shirts waving in the air and being thrown onstage. The tempo breakdown at the end of the song sees the audience chanting "come on, let's take it off" along with her, gradually picking up the pace to a near frenzy. Even her duet Kick It with none other than Iggy Pop snuck its way into the set, with her keyboardist Conner improvising as Iggy's stand-in with a long blonde wig hanging over his face and something shoved down his pants to enlarge his package. To conclude the set there was the inevitable costume change, with Peaches donning a belt with a flashing light illuminating her private nether regions as she launched into the expletive filled Fuck the Pain Away. Hands down highlight of the set.

  

Having seduced everyone in the room, including myself, we eagerly anticipate her return to the stage. Back she comes with a hot pink leotard and black cape with ‘XXX' printed on the back. She pleasures our ears with a couple more x-rated tracks before departing the spotlight a second time. The audience begins to disperse toward the exits. To my confusion, Peaches returns onstage for a final song. Two encores? I don't recall anyone calling out for a second one. This is where I decided to walk out. Far too self-indulgent if you ask me.

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