CHEAP CHICK: Chicks On Speed, Notting Hill Art Centre, London
by Jonas Stone, Jockey Slut, April 2000, p. 98
Depending on how you see them, they're nu-techno-art-punk-rockers, semi-serious-quasi-electro-chic-mockers or post-feminist-new-wave-trash-shockers. Whichever, the all female triumvirate of Chicks On Speed are, according to their own tongue-in-cheek grandiose, here to save us all. Which going by tonight is quite possible.
Singularly they line-up to three mic stands, continents apart, inches away - Alex (Melbourne [sic]), Melissa (New York) and Kiki (Munich) - with the DAT machines in the background occasionally interrupted by Kiki Moorse's squaling filter bank. These girls kick like well-manicured megaton bombshells. Between bouts of shrieking which strech from the charming to ear-melting, the Chicks give house, electro, new wave, hardcore and punk their own esoteric art-house twist'n'shout.
Alex remains the most active on stage, pogoing and rocking out in a cardboard cut-out dress which bears the image of a naked sex goddess. Unsurpsingly, she's also the most shouty. Melissa, for her part, is slightly more reserved, gluing herself to the beat whilst delivering her wonderful Laurie Anderson meets Kraftwerk deadpan diatribe from behing pantomime-like slapstick make-up, while Kiki rocks out head-nod style between bouts of shoutyness. Daniel Miller's 'Warm Leatherette' turns into pure electro-auto-eroticism, Christopher Just's 'Glamour Girl' becomes porn-house and 'Kaltes Klares Wasser' is restrained formation shouting with a dash of sleaze-rock thrown in for the (DJ) hell of it. Irony doesn't even feature when you're having this much fun.
Somewhere between the MC5, Atari Teenage Riot, today's International DJ Gigolos and Talking Heads exists a world where Chicks On Speed shine like torn sequinned dresses. It's a style collision that could so easily smear like cheap lippy yet somehow they're the most inventive gunshot to emerge from music's conformist cul-de-sac for some time. More importantly, they're great fun - which these days is sorely missed.
Copyright © 2000 Jockey Slut. Reprinted with permission.