Sunday, September 25, 2005

All the Pretty Horses/ September 23, 2005/ The Uptown Bar/ Minneapolis, MN

(I just got back from seeing Earth, Gang Gang Dance and Pita at the Empty Bottle here in Chicago. It was kinda boring. I kinda wish I'd seen this band instead-- Amy)

Reviewed by Pat Feghali

There are bands that are meant to be listened to. And then there are bands that are meant to be seen. Often this is because they have amazing stage shows. It can also be because they are hot. Sometimes, very rarely, these things come together to form what may be called the perfect live band. Minneapolis group All the Pretty Horses might just be one of those bands.

The group is fronted by the magnetic and fabulously attractive singer and guitarist Venus, who looks like an Amazon and sounds like an American David Bowie. What else could you ask for? Add to that smoke machines, strobe lights, an amazing drummer and bass player, and two hot dancers, and you’ve got something. I’m not really sure what it is. But it sure as hell is amazing.

Not to gush or anything, but ATPH are the best live band I’ve seen in a long time. They have a self-described “dark glam” sound, and they just won a Minnesota Music award for best hard rock band. Like you might guess, their sound is somewhere between metal, ‘70s glam, and good old shit-kicking rock. And yet, despite Venus’s great voice, I don’t really feel the need to get a CD. No, it’s not because I plan to steal the music online, but because I’d much rather watch them, or at least look at them.

It’s not every day that you (well, I) get to watch five women (or at least five people with breasts) make hard rock music. It’s also not every day that you (or I) get to watch five people with breasts, two of whom are not actually playing music but are just there to dance and add to the general atmosphere, wear thigh-high boots and ripped fishnets and be totally into the performance they are giving. It’s not every day that I get to be around straight boys who are totally in love with the girl on stage who just happened to be born a boy. And since the band is going on hiatus in January when drummer extraordinaire Jen Deen joins some sort of theater production, the chance to witness such things will become even less frequent. But, don’t worry, there’s good news. I have it on good authority that the DVD Venus of Mars , about Venus’s life as a transgender rock star, is highly enjoyable, if a little hard to find.

It’s good to know that somewhere, somehow, there are still bands that are using rock and roll as a way to fuck with the way that people think. It’s good to know that there is still a place, among all the weepy emo kids and the tie-wearing brit pop boys, for people who can just say “this is who I am and I don’t care if you can’t handle it.” Venus is one of those people. And, just between us, she is my new personal hero. Maybe next time I see them I’ll be brave enough to talk to her.