Austin invades SF with Christeene Vale, Wammo, and Guy Forsyth
There’s glamour. Then there’s Glamour. And then there’s Glamour’s myriad permutations, like Drag Glamour. And Drug Glamour. And Diva Glamour. Glamour makes respectable what might otherwise be considered merely ostentatious, excessive, or gauche. Elusive but instantly recognizable, there’s no doubt that glamour can enthrall. But frankly, sometimes it bores.
There’s nothing boring about Christeene Vale.
One part Iggy Pop, one part New York Dolls, and one part complete mess, Vale is pure punk rock without the guitars. Headlining Some Thing at the Stud, appropriately on Friday the 13th, Vale stumbled onto the stage dressed in decidedly unglamorous rags, a shredded t-shirt, and a flesh-colored thong, bruises decorating her hairy thighs, lipstick smeared half across her face like a terrorist clown.
Accompanied by a burst of driving electronica, Vale began gyrating suggestively, not in a softcore “come hither” kind of way, but in a down and (really) dirty way, tugging at her g-string, spreading her literally filthy cheeks.
Rapping over the rhythm at breakneck speed, the tweeker-twitchy tranny demanded that the crowd “Fix My Dick”. Clever and gross, lyrics such as “I’ll let you chew on my crab cake the hell with the first date just slide me the beefsteak” fell from her lips as easily as the gobs of spittle she spat at the front row.
The rest of her set was just as confrontational—and just as hilarious: “Workin’ on Granma,” “Slowly/Easy,” “Tears from My Pussy” (a downbeat little R & B ballad with a Casio-tone hook). Creatively fearless, Vale managed to be both explicitly offensive and unexpectedly romantic. “There’s room at the table for all of us,” could well have been the anti-glamour message being propagated, though there’s an equal chance it was something a little less precious like “let’s get drunk and fuck tonight”.
Austin darlings the Asylum Street Spankers may be no more, but musicians still have to eat, y’all. Even the Sex Pistols had their Filthy Lucre tour, though that calculated stadium spectacle was a far cry from this convivial parlor act of former Spankers Wammo and Guy Forsyth, who teamed up at the Red Devil Lounge to play a few favorites.
Blessed with a wicked slide guitar, Forsyth killed on Blind Willie Johnson’s “God Moves on the Water,” and on his own rocking, talking tune “Long Long Time” (“we used to dream about heroes/but now it's just how to beat the system”). Wammo alternated between playing percussion on a plastic suitcase and adding “horns” to the mix with his harmonica, a kazoo, a spot of Tuvan-style throat-singing, and a jump onto lead vocals for humorous tunes such as “Beer,” and my personal favorite “Leafblower,” which sounded like a parody of a Kurt Cobain song, a sort of nasal whine ruminating on the evil of the 8 a.m. leafblower outside one's window (“good thing I don’t have a gun”).
They might not have an official band name yet, but as a duo, Wammo and Forsyth still managed to provide a spanking good show.