Performance at Seymour Theatre – 27 April 2013 (9th Annual Sydney Comedy Festival)
Two weekends ago, I found myself with a few other Hoydenizens and friends at the first Sydney Cherchez La Femme, a Q&A-style panel event with only female panelists, hosted by Karen Pickering.
During the night, there was a musical intermission. One of the acts was Lady Sings it Better, a group of women who, to quote them, take songs written by men and, well, sing them better.
Turns out, they were playing two gigs as part of the 9th Annual Sydney Comedy Festival at the Seymour Centre. So a few days later, I was back on a bus from Central to City Road to meet up with a slightly different set of Hoydenizens and friends for more feminist entertainment.
It was, in a word, fabulous.
First and foremost, this group is musically excellent. These ladies really do sing it all better, and the band is well suited to them in this regard.
But there’s more to it than that. You won’t leave one of their shows without a new appreciation of the creepiness, misogyny and good old objectification of women in many of your favourite mainstream songs.
From the obvious (for example, Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”, Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer”) to the slightly less-obvious-until-you-really-listen (The Knack’s “My Sharona”), the stalkeriffic (the Lady Sings It Better stalker medly includes The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”, Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and the old Aussie classic, Hunters & Collectors’ “Throw Your Arms Around Me”) to the blatant (AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and Bob Marley/Inner Circle’s “Sweat (A La La La La Long)”), with a few tributes thrown in (to MJ, the booty and horses), nothing is sacred.
The set list allows the singers to demonstrate their range and their talents, especially in terms of their truly complementary voices and vocal styles. They also throw in a little dancing and acting which adds to the feminist commentary on the songs they are singing. There is also a ukelele (for Usher’s “Yeah”).
All in all, I had a great night. I did notice, however, that the audience had a little less energy than during the short set at Cherchez La Femme. This may be because, as they commented during that set, the Cherchez La Femme audience was basically Lady Sings it Better’s target market. But I also wonder if the slightly less formal format (tables and standing room rather than tiered seating in a black-box theatre) suits the show a bit better. Maybe we can see you at The Basement, Lady?
In summary: if you like a little feminist critique with your cover versions, plus a whole lot of laughs and some damn good singing, I cannot recommend Lady Sings it Better highly enough.
They are having a break for the next month, but they are hugely active on social media (especially on facebook and twitter – @lady_sings_it), so it will be quite easy to keep up with their gigs. You have no excuse!