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Gossip gives ferocious show
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Gossip gives ferocious show

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

Gossip
The Showbox
October 23


Gossip (formerly known as The Gossip) deserves every ounce of praise a band can get these days and then some. Not only is it unusual for a three-piece band from the Northwest fronted by a charismatic, larger-than-life Lesbian with a huge voice and even huger opinions a rare thing; it's pretty much an anomaly. Beth Ditto, along with guitarist Brace Paine and drummer Hannah Blilie, have truly altered the state of post-punk with an unabashedly yet quite sophisticated take on gender-bending feminist music. To prove it, all you have to do is catch them live.

Last week's sold-out appearance at The Showbox was a highly anticipated return to home turf (the band currently resides in Portland but began in Olympia in 1999). Ditto, as usual, was a revelation - from the second she appeared she was greeted with thunderous applause from friends, fans and admirers. "Dime Store Diamond" from current release Music For Men set the tone for the night - raw, dancey, and packing all the energy and inspiration that is Gossip's trademark. "Heavy Cross," "2012," and others from the new record got everyone moving. "8th Wonder" and "Love Long Distance" were scorchers. Performing with touring bassist Chris Sutton (formerly of Dub Narcotic and currently half of C.O.C.O. and Hornet Leg), I heard snippets of Talking Heads, a bit of "Lady Marmalade," and bits and pieces from Gossip's breakthrough release Standing In the Way of Control. It felt like a party packed wall to wall, instead of a Friday-night all-ages concert.

The audience, made up largely of young women and quite a few men (Gay, straight, or unconcerned with gender affiliation), hung on Ditto's every move. Alternating between sweet and ferocious, she joked that it felt good to "sell out." Though the band are now world famous and on Columbia, they haven't lost their grit - unless you consider getting better a downside. Music For Men was produced by Rick Rubin, who managed to make an ambitiously good band even better. This slightly sharpened focus has translated live. Beth Ditto's remarkable voice was stronger than ever. With fiery orange hair and a hot skintight dress, she looked every inch as unconventional and gorgeous as always.

The encore was a dream come true throwdown of "Standing In The Way of Control" backed amazingly with "What's Love Got To Do With It?" by none other than Tina Turner. Beth Ditto has really come into her own as a celebrity, a role model, and as a vocal force of nature. You can hear it in every line she sings. (Who else can tackle a Tina Turner cover with such ease?) Gossip is going to last and last, and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

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