This past Saturday I found myself in Eraserhood’s latest hotspot for the first time… Underground Arts. The venue does, indeed, promise what it delivers. It is an underground performance art space. It also fits quite nicely into the hood of Eraserhead. The room resembles a cross between a school cafeteria, a 1930s speakeasy, and (and perhaps most prominently) the cabaret lounge of a David Lynch film… the people there looked to be largely of a previous era and more comfortable with each other than the average public watering hole… but likely less comfortable with the rest of society than the average individual… it was like the naughty afterparty of a sockhop, where thighs could be flaunted and intoxication wasn’t a ticket to the end of the evening.
…And the stars of the evening were equally conflictingly saucy… Lily and the Parlour Tricks. The six-piece outfit from Brooklyn, led by Lily Claire, embrace traditional Americana, but they also find themselves gravitating toward contemporary pop (Of all sorts… After their set you could find them dancing to “Rock With You,” and their own set contained a brilliant tune that was their personally adapted hybrid of Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” and Missy Elliot’s “The Rain”… seriously.), but their primary influences seem to be the aesthetic of 1960s Girl Groups and Southern-fried Soul… equal parts sassy, sexy, and, if you fuck with them, quite scary. Lily and her girls, Darah Golub and Morgane Moulherat, not only had the most angelic swagger and vocal stylings of anyone in the room… but they were also, clearly, the most badass. The three girls donned cut and customized shirts for Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, and Barbarella, respectively… that should pretty much say it all.
The band’s thirty minute set would have been right at home in a 1930s speakeasy or a lounge scene in a Lynch film (not so much a cafeteria, though). Lily and the Parlour Tricks manage the perfect balance of clever choreography and haphazard abandon… They were quite prepared (the costumes, the hair, the makeup, the moves) but once they’re hit the stage the music was definitely calling all of the shots. Highlights of the set included neo-Doo-woppers “Little Angel” and “Gigolo;” along with “Tracks,” their most epically rocking number; and a devastatingly erogenous take on “Li’l Red Riding Hood.”
After their set, I chatted with the band over American Spirits, courtesy of bassist Brian Kesley. Lily tells me that she really enjoys exploring Philadelphia and that they plan on continuing exploring the mid-Atlantic for the rest of the year, playing Philly, DC, and their own NYC as much as possible. (Drummer Terry Moore is actually a native of Philthy, growing up-and-having-parents-still-living-in nearly spitting distance of my own 215 home… it’s where the band stayed after the show.) Lily also tells me that in the coming weeks the band is working on a short film/music video for “The Murder Song,” a favorite song of theirs that they don’t regularly get to play that they want to create a fitting homage to. Lily tells me that the song is based on 19th century murder ballads and that the inspiration behind the videography is somewhat inspired by the work of Mr. Lynch, himself. Lily confesses that the highlight of the year for the band is SXSW and playing nine shows in three days, yet she admits, “We wouldn’t do it again.” She and I empathize that sleeping on couches for a week and not having the space to doll yourself up for a proper “show” isn’t terribly appealing.