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Lisa Suckdog, Dickless, and Sky Cries Mary - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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steve98052
steve98052
Lisa Suckdog, Dickless, and Sky Cries Mary

Subject: Suckdog shocks Seattle
Date: 01 Dec 1989 02:57:09 PST

Last night my brother and I went to two musical shows. The first was PDQ Bach (which I'll review briefly, at the end of this message since it doesn't belong in this ["alternative" music mailing] list) at the Seattle Center Opera House, and the second was Lisa Suckdog at the Vogue. Both were awesome.

[Note (2018): I broke off the review of the PDQ Bach show into a separate message. I made a few small copy edits here, and added some much-needed paragraph breaks.]

Opening for Lisa were Sky Cries Mary and Dickless, who were also both pretty impressive. The Vogue was the busiest I'd ever seen it, with a varied and occasionally somewhat belligerent crowd. A couple of fights broke out when people stumbling through the massive crowds bumped into others and spilled their beers, but no one got hurt – and it could easily have been staged. [Back then, people often got rough on crowded dance floors, without actual intent to do harm.] We got there part of the way into the first act, around 10:30.

Sky Cries Mary

Sky Cries Mary were sometimes good, sometimes not so good, overall pretty enjoyable. Their good stuff was industrial dance music. It sounded a lot like Revolting Cocks or Skinny Puppy, and mainly just like the label "industrial dance music" suggests. I think there were six of them, a singer, a guitar, a bass, a drummer, a couple of guys running drum machines, tape gadgets, a turntable (that they didn't use while I was there, and other stuff. (I'm not exactly sure about the line-up, but that's roughly it.)

They were very percussive, though not quite as much as you might expect out of a group with a drummer and several drum machines. The singer looked kind of Rasta-ish, and the rest I don't really remember. They had a film projector pointing at them running films similar to those the Vogue usually runs on their video projectors, but it was cool having the clarity of film for the strange pictures instead of fuzzy video. The music, vocals, and mixing fit together well, as long as the intent was for the vocals to be just another instrument. I didn't understand the lyrics, but I liked the sound of the vocals a lot and don't care what the lyrics were like. That part of their show was really good.

They should have stuck to that, because they also did some "I'm so depressed" type music. They sounded like another band playing that stuff. They laid off of almost all the percussion, and the guitars sounded different. The vocals sounded like most groups that play "I'm so depressed I wish the world would end" music. The lyrics were understandable but boring. Oh well.

Coming in late, I didn't hear a lot of their set, so I don't know which music style they emphasized. What I heard of it was really good, in spite of the boring parts.

Update (2018): If Sky Cries Mary were merely "sometimes good, sometimes not so good" back in 1989, they improved a lot over the years. The last time I saw them they were fantastic, and pretty much everything they've recorded is wonderful. Although they're still not widely known today, they became the biggest of these three bands, by far.

I can't think of any "I'm so depressed" songs on any of their published recordings, even their 1989 release, Until the Grinders Cease. Maybe that aspect of the show was experimental material they chose not to record – or maybe my memory is faulty.

Dickless

Dickless did the best show I've seen them do. I've written about them before, and they're still improving. Before I said a couple of things about them that weren't right. One was that they would be boring if they played longer than 15 minutes or so. Well, this time they played a fair part of an hour and were great all the way through. I also said they had no lyrics, and that their singer did strictly non-lyrical screams. Well, her screams aren't intended to be intelligible, but there are lyrics hidden under them. I almost understood some of the words. Part of the irony of them is that the lead screamer looks so nice and innocent that you couldn't imagine those noises coming from her. The rest of the band are all good too, but it's hard to notice them with the lead screamer getting so intense. I stood next to someone who turned out to be her roommate through most of their show, and she corrected me about the presence of lyrics in the screams, and told me they will be on two compilations in addition to their Sub-Pop single. I'm buying the single when it comes out; if anyone sees them on the compilations let me know.

Update (2018): Dickless was a fun band, but they only recorded seven songs in nine years as a band.

Lisa Suckdog

Lisa Suckdog was of course the main event. As I walked in she was sitting at a table near the entrance (but I didn't know it was her then), selling stuff. She was friendly, or more accurately, flirty. The super-cheap $5 cover cleaned me out (I still haven't been to the bank), which she noticed when I came in, so she didn't try to sell me stuff. During the other two shows, she was really loud, and standing right near where I was (close to the stage, but to the side), and I asked her about Sky Cries Mary since I still didn't know who she was. She didn't know much about them either, but thought they were local. How's that for a lame name-drop? Anyway, I found out who she was eventually. If you are going to the show, and want to save some shock value for when you see it, skip the next paragraph, since it's probably a spoiler.

Once Dickless had cleared their stuff off the stage, Lisa's people started setting up their stuff. They had a cat-box (to go with their cat costumes), a bunch of raw chicken legs, lots of beer, some hanging decorated paper things, a huge strap-on dick, and a sound mixer. They consisted of Lisa (a pretty, somewhat short, normal looking woman in her 20s), another woman (somewhat overweight, also pretty normal looking), and a man (thin and crazed-looking). The show started with the man and the heavy woman coming on stage, telling Lisa to come to the stage (and get off that boy's lap, etc.), and then starting to fight, over who got to yell at Lisa, the woman's drinking too much beer, and other things. After a while Lisa came on stage, fighting her way through some people from the front of the crowd who clung to her legs (and elsewhere). The man and woman helped drag her up out of the crowd and on to stage, and restrained some woman who looked a lot like Lisa from coming onto the stage also. Then some taped music started and they started singing to it. A little was lip-sync, I think, but I'm sure most was live. They fought on and off all through the show, basically so they could rip clothes off of each other (though the heavy woman kept mostly dressed). After a while the guy was down to underwear and Lisa was down to a flesh-tone bikini bottom and a dress that only covered the bottom when she was standing up straight. At that point she pointed out the presence of police in the place and said since there were police present she couldn't expose herself. They still didn't stop pulling her dress off, but she kept the bottom on and hung on to a strip of gauzy stuff that usually covered her tits. The thrashing, beer-splashing, singing, and fighting went on, and the guy stuffed his underwear with chicken parts, a microphone, the strap-on, all of which he gyrated around a lot. After a while, Lisa put a shirt on, then got out the cat-box. She pissed into the cat-box so that most people near the front could see the spray but not much else (judging from previous reviews, I guess that discretion was for the benefit of the police). She swished it around, splashed it on the guy (apparently with a lot of beer mixed in also, because the mud was very runny), who then splashed more on himself. They thrashed around more and wrestled a lot. The guy was thoroughly covered with piss-beer-mud, and there were a lot of muddy spots on the other two. The guy ran out into the front of the crowd and thrashed around for a while, where I couldn't see. Lisa rushed off stage by the side where my brother and I were, and thrashed around there, yelling indignantly at those near that side of the stage, and shoving us around. She got quite a bit of mud on my brother's coat and some on mine in that thrash, and then returned to the stage through the front of the crowd. They thrashed on for quite a while longer, and eventually settled down. She yelled at the mixing people to shut off the taped music, and then turned it off with the on-stage mixer when they didn't do it. Finally she mentioned that she would be selling stuff by the door and left the others to clear the stage.

Update (2018): "Lisa Suckdog" has to be one of the more hilariously offensive band names ever. It appears that Lisa Carver started Suckdog around 1988, and still uses the stage name, though the band seems to have faded around 1998.

On the way out, my brother and I went by the stuff-selling table, and she remembered that I was out of cash, and had been muddied. She gave me a mail-order leaflet and said "write to me! thanks for letting me beat on you up there" or some such thing.

Anyway, it's time for me to sleep.

Steve [real last name, which people shared back then]
steve@sensual.wa.com

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