Last Wednesday it looked as though The Fillmore were hosting this year’s Dracula’s Ball: 2,500 twentysomethings donning fishnets, vinyl, knee-high platforms with enough buckles to restrain Dr. Lecter, and intentionally faded and mangled vintage band shirts that have actually probably been produced in the last calendar year… On second thought, it really more closely resembled a queer-only DJ tent at Ozzfest, and it was pretty fabulous. It was all for 25-year-old Ashnikko… And although I never thought I would find myself commending a white rapper, it was likely the most authentically badass mega spectacle I’ve seen onstage since… well, the golden age of Ozzfest. Between the staleness of nearly all hard rock of the past 20 years and rap’s recent refusal to be scary, there’s been a void in the expression popular teen angst for quite some time now… So, it only makes sense that this generation, finally fed up with this, would return to the last time we had icons like this, the costumed antiheroes like Marilyn Manson, and the shiny and mass-produced rebellion of Hot Topic… Something that was equally parts pretty and pretty wonderfully ridiculous.
And, at this moment, Ashnikko seems to be doing this better than anyone. Earlier this year saw the release of her Demidevil mixtape (possibly the year’s most exciting album) and the show that she brought to The Fillmore could’ve easily fit onto the mainstage of Ozzfest 2001, between Slipknot and Marilyn Manson. Backed by DJ Crystal Lake, mythical squid tentacles, and a giant video screen, Ashnikko took the stage dolled up like a princess who had just snuck out of a Lisa Frank insane asylum. The hour+ performance saw the dark diva spitting instant anthems like “Tantrum,” “Working Bitch,” and “Deal With It” from Demidevil, in addition to each of her odes to Halloween (“Halloweenie I-IV”). Her stompy swagger resembled a cross between Rainbow Brite and Ursula, as cartoony as it is undeniably entrancing. Although this brand of angst is unlikely to lead to any real revolution, it’s likely the best thing young people have had to soundtrack their rebellion since the first time we saw it, two decades ago.