I had previously never seen The Tiger Lillies and despite being a listener of punk cabaret for years, it was my Russian friends who introduced me to them last year. Their filthy lyrics and punk attitude had appealed to me instantly. I will admit that Martyn’s voice took some getting used to. But soon after seeing Joe Black’s cover of “Kick a Baby,” I was hooked!
On Saturday, November 9th, I was all dressed up in a bustle and a corset and a top hat with feathers! What could be more appropriate for a night of dark filthy cabaret! My friend Rosie from Manchester had previously seen The Tiger Lillies four times and assured me that a fun show was to be had. Several gin and tonics before the show and we were ready to be entertained, vaudeville style!
The band was fashionably late yet that only helped to fuel the crowd’s excitement and anticipation. I stood right next to the stage with Martyn just an arm-length away. Adrian stood on the left and their replacement drummer was placed on the right. Starting with “Bad,” Martyn worked the crowd into a sing-along growl frenzy. The Tiger Lillies went on to play crowd favourites such as “Crack of Doom,” and songs from their newest album, “Either Or.” The accordion was loud, and the voices roared. The cups on top of the drum set sounded liked old mummified skulls. The slower songs on the piano accompanied by the saw brought out tender tears and melancholy. The crowd howled, stomped their feet, and clapped with great fervor. It then became apparent to me why The Tiger Lillies were so popular in Russia. Drunken debauchery has never had a better soundtrack!
Unfortunately I was not able to get a photo with the band as they had to quickly leave for their next gig in Minsk the next day, but my friend Rosie was able to chat up fellow English chaps. We left drunk and feeling elated and high on music and a cheerful atmosphere. The Tiger Lillies are masters of captivating and gratifying an audience no matter how large or how small. This had been one of the most fun concerts I had ever had the privilege of attending!