A Suicide for Winter | The Tiger LilliesIt was Nietzsche who claimed that the very thought of suicide was a great source of comfort across many a bad night. And perhaps for the raffish UK cabaret crew The Tiger Lilies it has been the great source of comfort spanning an entire career.

A Suicide For Winter is the latest mystical instalment from the Brechtian street opera inspired trio. Their poetic moniker refers both to a beautiful fragrant flower and an infamous prostitute, in point of fact the band formed in 1989 after songmeister Martyn Jacques spent near on a decade musing on the scent of a dark demimonde milieu of petty crims, prostitutes and low life, surrounding him during his twenties. Today with 18 albums to their credit with saturnine titles including; Urine Palace, 7 Deadly Sins, Circus Songs and The Brothel to the Cemetery this sinister troika of tragic troubadours has garnered a respectful and cultish following on the festival cabaret burlesque circuit.

Melbourne had the good fortune to experience another enchanting fix of Tiger Lilies mysticism last night. Exacting falsettos, surreal gypsy arrangements laced with intoxicating abjectness or the hard tremble of dildoes and hammer repurposed as drumsticks. Jacques haunting vocals evoking the spirits of long dead castrati’s, Adrian Stout on Double Bass, horsehair Bow, a singing saw and Jacques shamanic muse behind the a drum kit, Adrian Huge.

In the dark crypt like space at North Melbourne Town Hall replete with chiaroscuro lighting, the Lilies let loose both new and old material, the mercurial music mayhem madness and melancholy that has made them, ever so delightfully, not a household name. Unleashing songs like the carnivalesque Roll Up, the show stopping and blasphemous Banging In The Nails, to the Faustian pact of spoken word ballads like Lust or I’m Angry. Brooding fare like A Bitter Pill and the brilliant gothic cover of My Funny Valentine. The finale, as close to redemption as the Lilies get, a resounding comic tragic balance of doom and bloom, The Crack Of Doom is Coming.

While there are some, like Nietzsche, who may have succumbed to the ego’s hubris, flailing in the face of literal suicide, there are others like The Tiger Lilies who err to suicide’s poetic nuances, its alchemical treatise. Deep from the mystical, invisible, eternal palette that is the human soul. From the absurd transmuting harmonies melodies and imperfect notes emanating from the larynx, or the bowels to the strange, sanguine and discordant conjunction of vowels tempered with heartfelt percussion, an angel saw and a golden squeezebox.

Arts House presents
A Suicide for Winter
The Tiger Lillies

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall | 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne Mel Ref: 2A J10
Dates: Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 August 2008
Times: 7.30pm. 120 minutes with interval
Tickets: $30 / $25
Bookings: artshouse.com.au or 03 9639 0096
More info: www.artshouse.com.au

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