His exposed flesh glittering against the stage lights, the cross-dressing ‘Miss’ Chris Chameleon entered the stage clad in a stunning pink and black ribboned full length cat-suit, and the crowd went wild. He reminded me of a younger Iggy Pop. ‘Both skinny, both ripped’ as my one friend remarked. The ripped bit, not the Iggy Pop bit, that’s all me.
With the exception of the die-hard regulars, the crowd was a little older than the norm. Boo! has been around for no less than 14 years, leaving the award-winning band with a solid and growing (and growing older) fan base.
They started the set with The Lonely Hearts Club – the third single of their latest album. Their sound has been described as ‘monki punk’. My ears however, heard an Africanized mixture of up-tempo riffs and yowling lyrics rather than the blunt, three chord theory of the punk scene that once graced these very same halls.
The drummer, a fatherly-looking type wearing a collared t-shirt and a white cap, played the drums like Baloo from The Jungle Book, but had the stage name ‘Princess Leonie’. The third member, a shaggy hippy-looking fellow called Ampie Omo, played the trumpet, tuba, keyboard and the djembe drums.
But up against the lead vocalist these two band members fought a losing battle for attention. Chris Chameleon is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining performers I’ve ever seen. He swings and sways; curls and twirls in a flurry of glitter, with a few hand gestures thrown out into the crowd to further seduce and amuse the sweaty and delirious mob below him.
One song that stood out was the up-tempo off-beat love song Avrocado Pair, with its very African drum beat and percussionist/keyboardist on backing vocals. Lucki had a carnival/marching band trumpet, and harder drums to keep the tempo going. Mud featured the percussionist playing the djembe drum, with a more picking sound from the bass. And perhaps the most entertaining was Amsterdam – a bass guitar-driven song with trumpet towards the end and a real chameleon turn from ‘Miss’ Chris singing in a plethora of differing voices.
The crowd lapped up a good mix of songs from all seven Boo! albums. The last song was preceded by some banter, especially the old “Ladies and gentlemen, purchase our CD and take us home with you” line but Champion, a super happy upbeat melody with the catchiest hook ever (‘rrrr…tarataa’) was the final song. The crowd screamed for an encore for a solid 10 minutes, but alas ‘Miss’ did not return. Well played Chris, always leave them wanting more.