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4* Review: The Very Worst of The Tiger Lillies – The Lowry, Salford

By Dane Yates
SalfordOnline.com Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s not very often the words avant-garde, punk, freakshow and cabaret are used in the same
sentence, even less so when they are being used to describe one band.

But then we had to expect the unexpected with The Tiger Lillies, who formed way back in 1989.

The three band members entered the stage made-up like the cast from a Victorian horror story.

The stage was packed with an eclectic mixture of instruments, from a grand piano and drum-kit
to a banjolele and theremin…there was even a Black and Decker handsaw, which was used in more than one of the songs!

The band raced through a rip-roaring first half of the show, which was home to a list of songs
that covered possibly every perversion, deviance and taboo one could think of, from copulating
with people of the cloth to kicking babies down stairs.

I wondered how their tour manager or promoter would even begin to pitch this band to new

I also wondered why these dark subjects made such hilarious songs!

The awkward silence between songs whilst the band members changed instruments only added
to their edginess and mystery.

The second half of the show started much slower, with ballads about alcoholism, small town
robbery and regret, which could all have easily come out of Johnny Cash’s songbook.

If anyone thought perhaps the band’s abnormality had peaked in the first half they were wrong.

Lead singer Martyn Jacques threw out the offer of requests to the audience, who obliged and
mischievous sniggers grew throughout the theatre as people took the opportunity to shout out in
public some of the band’s filthier titles.

The band finally settled on ‘Masturbating Jimmy’, an upbeat, gypsyesque number played primarily on an accordion about a pubescent onanist.

It’s fair to say that some of the songs were not for the faint-hearted, with subjects ranging from
prostitution and drug use, to defecating on religious graves.

However it appeared that the audience, of rather a diverse age group, seemed to know only too well what to expect from this band, and sang, clapped and laughed along accordingly.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.

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