You just never know when an unexpected work of strange performance art is going to break out at an indie-rock show. That's more or less what happened Friday night at Raleigh's Pour House, when a mysterious (and very inebriated) young woman I'll call Red highjacked a performance by the Provoclivities. As you can see from this picture, her red dress was conservative enough; but her, um, dance moves...not so much. Throughout the set, she slinked and gyrated suggestively in front of and occasionally even on the stage -- sometimes alone, sometimes with a partner. It was amusing, if also a little creepy, to watch different people's reactions to her approaches; nobody knew quite what to make of her.
Despite the distraction, the Proclivities played great, especially guitar god Chris Boerner (tone for tone, the best sound-effects guitarist I've heard in a while) and rock-steady drummer Matt McCaughan. But since he had the microphone, it fell to frontman Matt Douglas to deal with Ms. Red. Even though he let her take a bow onstage toward the end, he seemed bemused by her presence.
When I asked Douglas afterward if they had hired her to provide dancing accompaniment for the evening -- the Proclivities' latest album has a song called "Red-Faced Girl," after all -- he said they had never seen her berore. So I approached Red directly and asked who she was.
"I," she slurred dramatically, "am an enigma." Then she added something about living in Scotland and visiting a girlfriend here, before delivering a manifesto.
"I'm here to make women aware of their bodies -- and to make men want to grab them," she declared, then sashayed across the room.
Red was escorted to the Pour House's upstairs area away from the stage at the beginning of Hammer No More the Fingers' closing set. But she was back down front by the end, rubbing up against folks who mostly (but not universally) seemed rather unthrilled with her. As far as I know, however, the evening ended without incident.
(Photo courtesy of Rich McLaughlin.)
ADDENDUM (12/1/08): Scientific proof!