November 2007

Princess the grrrls play Prince LIVE!
November 8, 2007Lula LoungeToronto
A Purple night
by Tony Shivpershad with photos by Roger Humbert
Prince is a musical genius. That can’t be denied, but he had just spent the past couple of weeks totally sabotaging his career due to legal action. Unlike Michael Jackson though, Prince was the plaintive, not the defendant. First Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) filed a complaint against Stephanie Lenz, a Pennsylvania mother who posted a video of her infant, Holden, bouncing to music from the radio. The song, by chance happened to be the 1984 Prince hit, “Let’s Go Crazy”. UMPG claimed that Prince believes that it is wrong for his music to be used without his consent. Not yet satisfied by turning away a few of his fans, he then turned on his most staunch devotees. In an abhorrent move, he launched legal threats against the biggest websites devoted to promoting, discussing and admiring him. For many decades-long die-hard fans, this was the last straw. Long suspected, now irrefutable, the musical genius had gone mad.

This was the week that culminated with a celebration of his music at the beautiful Lula Lounge. Assembled on stage were an ensemble of flamboyantly dressed, independant musical artists. Not since last summer’s Pride parade had so many tiaras been seen on one stage in Toronto.

Seven beautiful women flanked the Lula stage, and began the a capella chorus of “7”: The band joined in and wonderfully recreated the Prince piece. In fact, the band managed to faithfully recreate most of the Prince pieces they played. Bassist, Jennifer Gilmor and drummer, Cheryl Reid kept the evening funky. Aimee O’Conner was wonderful on rhythm, and effortlessly reproduced guitar solos by one of the greatest guitarists in history. Towards the end of the night she even pulled out a replica of Prince’s custom “Blue Angel” cloud-shaped guitar. Bandleader and keyboardist Janet Whiteway was the glue that held it all together.
Suzanne “Ponyta” Nuttall
The vocalists mostly attempted to be true to the original versions of the songs, but often were not able to channel the soul required to perform Prince’s hits. Standouts of the evening were Jennifer “Moxie” Moxon’s rendition of “Little Red Corvette” and Leisa “Panther Blax” Thomas’ insertion of some original rap verses into “Musicology”. Prince has endeavoured to integrate rap into his music many times, usually quite unsuccessfully. Panther Blax’s rap was smooth and tight. Carrie Chestnutt’s solos, both on flute and saxophone were great. The sax solo on “Nothing Compares 2 U” alone was worth the price of admission.

“Sexy MF” was a lot of fun. Verses were not vocalized. Jennifer Whiteway stepped out from behind her keyboards and led the group in some of the chants from the song, and when the crowd was chanting along loudly enough with her, she stepped into the crowd, having them repeat the line “Sexy mother f-----“over and over again.

The band tried to leave at the end of their set, but the crowd would not conceive of the notion. They insisted on hearing “Purple Rain”. The band obliged with a finale of the obligatory, legendary Prince anthem.

Funky grooves were provided before, between and after the show by Corey “Dr. Baggy” Bagdan. Dr. Baggy is the promoter and D.J. of Purplelectricity, Canada’s only recurring Prince party.

The show occurred during a time when Prince had attacked his best supporters. Many of his prime supporters felt as if he had broken the long straw and here in the peak of the legal chaos and disorder, Dr. Baggy and the fine Princesses served notice that what really matters is the music.

Carrie Chesnutt
Sharron McLeod
Jennifer “Moxie” Moxon
Suzanne “Ponyta” Nuttall
Suzy Richter
Leisa “Pantha Blax” Thomas

Carrie Chesnutt (saxophone)
Jennifer Gillmor (bass)
Aimee O’Connor (guitar)
Cheryl Reid (drums)
Janet Whiteway (keys)

Carrie Chesnutt

Jennifer “Moxie” Moxon
We welcome your comments and feedback
Tony Shivpershad
• • • • • •
Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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