Wednesday, Oct. 28

If Peaches' latest album, I Feel Cream, represents a mellowing of her material—with less of an emphasis on pornographic shock-talk—Wednesday's performance was a jolting reminder that she's still got her edge.

Her stage show was evidence that Peaches is the performer Madonna always wished she could be, from the avant-garde costume changes—a bubblegum-pink Metroid-esque leotard; a gold lamé druid's cloak; white latex hot pants with a matching vest and aviator sunglasses—to her potty-mouthed swagger, to her show's overt play with gender, power and sex. While Madonna was always too preoccupied objectifying herself, Peaches mocked the very idea of objectification by symbolically changing gender from song to song, wielding and stroking a 4-foot neon light saber like a penis, and then affixing a strobe light to her crotch during "Mommy Complex."

There was nothing subtle or underplayed about her show, and that was the point. Peaches celebrated all of rock's excesses: spraying the crowd with champagne, crowd surfing—at one point standing at her full height atop the hands of the crowd—kicking over mic stands and climbing on the bass drum to bang the crash cymbal during "Fuck the Pain Away."

Opening her set with "Mud," she performed the whole song adorned in a massive black costume made of knotted fringe that was part Jim Henson, part tribal avatar. It was this penchant for the totally bizarre that made her so enthralling to watch, combined with the punk-metal spectacle of her losing control.

The opening act, MEN, was dull compared to the energy and spectacle Peaches brought. The three-piece, which features Le Tigre's JD Samson as its frontwoman, played some relatively fun and spacey electro remixes, though the songs felt interminably long. And despite Samson's undeniable appeal, the band's more didactic trappings—like having stagehands march "Silence = Death" banners behind the band as they played—fell flat.

I can't imagine what more one could want from a rock performance than what Peaches delivered. "Tucson," she told us toward the end of the night, "I only knew you from a Steve Miller song. But now I really know you." She teased us that she'd had her way with us—which she definitely did.

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