The Pipettes put on a fun show at SXSW (fun to hear, and fun to photograph). It was cool to see them again last night (June 7) when they made their Chicago debut at the Empty Bottle. Somehow, I thought they would have filled a bigger venue, though I guess their album still isn’t out in the U.S., so expect them to play a larger place when they come back – maybe this fall? The Pipettes’ formula is pretty simple: This is old-fashioned girl group music with slightly more ribald lyrics than the old stuff, and a few contemporary touches. A big part of the Pipettes’ appeal as a live act is that they’re three cute Brit chicks with saucy attitude and slinky outfits. (It’s too bad they were playing at the Bottle, which is a cool venue in many ways, but not for its dim stage lighting. Though I prefer not to use flash for my concert photos, I was forced to use the flash most of the night this time.)
Monster Bobby (a member of the Pipettes’ backup band, who is described as their “progenitor”) opened the show with his awkward and stilted songs – they were awkward and stilted in an amusing way, and some of them were actually pretty good songs, but the shtick wore thing fairly fast. Next up was Smoosh, a very young band featuring a couple of sisters (three of them on a few songs, when the youngest sis of all came up to play bass) playing primitive keyboard rock. Not bad at all, though I think I’ll wait until they’re a little older to hear what they can play then.