Ebony Bones has been touring the world in support of an album that is only available in the UK for a few years now. I saw her at CMJ in 2008, and which was just a magical experience – though even at the time I put that down to it being 4 am, and having danced the night away to 6 hours of awesome music.
So I am pleased to report that Ebony is just as awesome when she rocks at 8 pm.
It was just an incredible live experience. Looks first, because they were a striking foundation for what is to follow. Each band member has their own outlandish style, from the sax player in a harlequin outfit to the shirtless guitarist crowned with some sort of ancient Egyptian headpiece. Her two back-up singers (who also danced like possessed maniacs and played percussion with spoons and whisky(?) bottles) just looked demented in crazy wigs and matching baby-doll dresses in African tribal patterns. They were my favorite part of the performance besides Ebony herself — who was a sight to behold. Over a hot pink unitard, she wore a leopard print structured jacket and mini skirt. She wore a rubber ring around her neck — rocked it — and her hair was teased as high as the sky.
This was the canvas on which a totally kick ass performance was built. She and her band spewed out energy as she sang songs about addressing the Orwellian existence that is modern life. Which sounds like kind of a downer, but it was epically danceable. It was punk rock and subversive in a way that Lady Gaga only wishes she was.
Her music is doom and gloom in a very satisfying way. She pulled out two covers that nicely complimented her set: “Another Brick in the Wall,” by Pink Floyd and “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” by the Stooges. And, in case you’re wondering, she avoided my pet peeve and made them entirely her own.
And she got everyone dancing — which in at Mercury is a rare sight. Her crew created a party atmosphere before the show even started, passing out whistles and Mardi Gras masks. A few people, obviously already hip to the awesomeness, were dressed in costumes. I think I saw some pirates ... it was hard to tell but it was more than skinny jeans and ironic T’s (which, full disclosure, was exactly what I wore).
She’s playing Southpaw Feb. 13, and I highly recommend going. I don’t want to throw out Best Show of the Year in January, but I will say that Ebony Bones is exactly what music in 2010 needs more of.