I got really lucky to have Wednesday night off to be able to attend The Tiger Lillies. The Lillies have a surprisingly dedicated fanbase in Russia and they are so popular within Moscow’s alternative music scene that they scheduled two gigs in two nights at the same club, 16 Tonns. The band is known to tour almost non-stop and with 30+ albums, they never run out of material to play. I had previously seen the Tiger Lillies when they had played at the same club last year and they had put on a spectacular show to a packed club. This year, not only did they play an equally great gig, but it made perfect sense why one show had clearly not been enough for Moscow.
Last year I remember not knowing as many songs the Tiger Lillies played, be because they intentionally played newer material or because I was simply not as familiar with them. This year more than half of their very long set was highlighted by old familiar crowd pleasers. The Lillies played such profane songs as “Vagina,” “Suicide,” “Gypsies,” and “Heroine and Cocaine.” Much to my surprise and delight, the Lillies played my absolute favourite song “Kick a Baby!” Since the lovely cabaret devil Joe Black did a cover of that song on the ukelele, I can’t get enough of it! I had simply shrieked with delight. The debauched trio also played “Gin”, another song close to my heart. Going against tradition, the Lillies played the crowd favourite “Crack of Doom” in the middle, as opposed to the end of the show. This gave Martyn the opportunity to show off his vocal prowess by trailing the song with quite a long solo. “Billie’s Blues” and “Bully Boys” were also performed to an already pumped and cheering crowd. In addition to having both halves of the shows being of equal lenghth, for the encore the Lillies chose to play “Masturbating Jimmy”, which to my surprise only I seemed to know the lyrics out of the whole crowd.
Overall, the concert had simply been spectacular! Wherever the Tiger Lillies may go, they always bring with them a joyful bacchanalian spirit which is much needed in life, and particularly in the dull grey winter months. I have no doubt the Lillies brought just as much energy and attitude on Thursday night as they did on Wednesday. Regardless of how many years go by, the band’s vitality never writhers and Martyn continues to astound audiences with his incredible voice and multi-instrumental abilities. I cannot wait to see them again, be in Moscow or somewhere else in the world. Their appeal transcends language and cultural boundaries, though it does help to know English to understand the not-so-subtle darkness and irony of the lyrics.
I shall leave you with my favourite Tiger Lillies song. Sing it to all your friends with children. 😉