The Tiger Lillies
Sideshow inspired death-gypsy tunes
This article is from 2010.
The Tiger Lillies are probably one of only a few proponents of the ‘Death Oompah’ genre. Frontman Martyn Jacques comes to the stage adorned with thick harlequin war paint and armed with songs of murderous circus freaks and decrepit prostitutes, sung in either an operatic falsetto or a grisly growl. He’s accompanied by a variety of unconventional instruments: the theremin and musical saw both make appearances, as do the accordion and ukulele.
The band have previously been involved in the writing and staging of operas, which could be considered a fitting medium for the material. They are deprived of such context in a bare-bones live show, though, and the songs come across as repetitive and unfunny, with themes generally restricted to anal sex and drunkenness. It’s the sort of stuff dreamt up by bored 15-year-old boys with an over-fondness for The League of Gentlemen. The instrument and make-up gimmicks soon wear thin under such material, and while Jacques proudly boasts that his songs may be offensive, this tends to be an issue with quality rather than content.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until Sat 21 Aug, 9.45pm, £14–£15 (£12.50–£14).