As soon as she stepped on the stage of Joe's Pub last night, Meow Meow had the audience roaring in applause, showering her with flowers and cheers. With her single red glove, sequin dress, and lengthy lashes, she transported her audience to 1940's Germany or turn-of-the-century France within instants. Described as an act of "kamikaze cabaret and performance art exotica", she certainly brought us an unforgettable evening of old-fashioned entertainment with a post-post-modern flair. She played on the decadence of the cabaret style and our current recession to add to her comedy, asking an audience member to hold up a flashlight as a spotlight and another to operate a spray-can to produce "fog" for "atmosphere". She executed her costume changes amongst us, unapologetically asking for help with straps and hooks, and often barking at anyone who wasn't doing exactly what she had instructed.
Like most truly exceptional and talented people, she joked about being unprofessional- not warming up, not knowing lyrics, and not having the proper resources to perform- and then stunned us with her voice, which shook us to our core with its life-force and soul. She certainly knows how to keep a room laughing, but I am confident it is her talent that sells out her shows.
An expert at breaking sentimentality with witty humor, she keeps the whole room actively engaged, and even if we didn't want to be, she made sure to involve us, bringing two men from the audience up to be a human chair for her at one point, and finalizing with a crowd-surf that carried her all around the room, stopping only to get a shot of whiskey at the bar. I sneaked a peak up at the lighting booth at one point and found the operator bending over in laughter. And even though she held one of her flashlights to her face and danced with audience members throughout the number, she cracked our hearts open with her cover of Patty Griffin's "Be Careful". After a much deserved standing ovation, she left us with, "You all must buy a CD from me now, you've seen far too much of me," which was met with laughter, more roaring applause, and a general motion towards wallets.
If you haven't seen her perform, be sure to catch her tonight or tomorrow night at Joe's Pub in New York City and visit her website to find out about her upcoming performances.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MEOW MEOW.
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