At last night’s show at the Sidetrack Theatre, their first performance as part of the blackcat lounge’s season of queer cabaret, Lady Sings It Better’s set featured plenty of dizzying highs (take their faithful interpretation of Ginuwine’s Pony, surely one of the sexiest songs of all time). There were creamy middles – a gorgeously witty version of Jesse’s Girl, dedicated to all the straight girls group leader Maeve Marsden had ever lusted after. And, yes, there was the very occasional bum note – their version of Alice Cooper’s Poison was one excursion in ‘80s cheese too far for this reviewer’s tastes.

The ladies were at their unified best during the numbers that truly fleshed out the feminist ethos behind the group, who only perform songs written or made famous by men. Considering recent weeks have seen female performers from newcomer Lana Del Rey to industry veteran Madonna unfairly maligned, it’s thrilling to see a bunch of strong, talented ladies on stage turning the magnifying glass back on the male performers who hold so much of the power in the music industry. They sing sugary guff like Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl and misogynistic anthems like Inner Circle’s Sweat (A La La La La Long) with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but the message is clear: ‘really, fellas? This is the best you can come up with?’

The ladies themselves are a diverse bunch – from sweet-voiced glamourpuss Chandra Franken to big-lunged powerhouse Marsden, there’s not a weak link among them. Special mention must go to the impressively voiced Libby Wood, though, whose two solo contributions – a hilarious rapid-fire version of Usher’s Yeah and a countrified take on Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive – were the undoubted highlights of the night.

Lady Sings It Better perform at the Sidetrack on February 23 and 24, and March 2, 4, 7 and 8. Info: http://blackcatproductionsaustralia.wordpress.com

Photo: Viv McGregor

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