It’s music of the macabre. The numbers Danced All Night and Over the Rainbow are sung soulfully – not to say as a dirge. They record on a label called Misery Guts Music.
Their show Shockheaded Peter – which they described as a “junk opera” won an Olivier Award. Their musicianship is above question.
Cult trio, The Tiger Lillies are touring. They will be at The Apex Bury St Edmunds on May 11, The Theatre Royal Norwich on May 12, and The Junction Cambridge on May 13.
Tiger Lillies tour is called From the Circus to the Cemetery.
In June they will be in Germany, in July, they are playing in Ukraine.
Their music is described as pre-war Berlin meets punk. There’s a flavour of klezmer in there too. Founder Martyn Jacques who set up the band in 1989, plays the accordion, piano, guitar, harmonica, ukulele and banjolele.
As a youngster he was taught piano by the celebrated Florence De Jong. Born in 1894, she played the organ for silent films as well as on cruise liners. After she died in 1990, he dedicated a performance to her memory.
Jacques’ diction when he sings is perfect – crystal clear. His spiked delivery is reminiscent of Dame Edna Everage. Topics include bestiality, prostitution, and blasphemy.
The trio’s publicity says the band is not for the easily offended. (Perhaps she wasn’t either). Jacques, we are told, finds it amusing when people walk out – it’s only entertainment he says. Fellow band member Adrian Stout plays double bass, the jaw harp, and a musical saw. Budi Butenop plays drums.
Their style is a mix of cabaret, music hall and street theatre. Song titles include Crack of Doom, Banging in the Nails, (subtitled The Brothel to the Cemetery) Living Hell and Heroin.
That last song observes the apparent necessity these days of celebrities having to torture themselves – and then tell us all about it. They have to have had something to survive.
For tickets see Tigerlillies.com
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