It’s easy to be impressed by big stage productions- stunning light shows, elaborate screen set-ups, jaw-dropping hydraulics, bells and whistles. So sometimes, like Monday night, it takes a band with a bare stage, wearing jeans and t-shirts, or in Beth Ditto’s case a dress from Avenue*, to prove you don’t need anything fancy to blow the sock off of your fans, you can do it by just being ****ing amazing, and singing, dancing and rocking your ass off! The Gossip brought it like none other on Monday night to the 930 Club, shaking, dancing, screaming, sweating and rocking their way through a super-fun, energized set to a full house of adoring fans.
Originally formed in Olympia, Washington, The Gossip has a sound that blends bluesy rock, soul, punk and synth-dance-rock. The resulting combination makes for non-stop hip-shaking, head-bopping, fist-pumping exuberance. The group started off their set with the dancey “Love Long Distance“, and got the crowd moving and shaking right away. After that song front-woman Beth Ditto looked up to the backstage balcony and said “Well Ian was clapping, so that’s a good thing.” (referring to the Make-Up frontman Ian Svenonius, who was clearly enjoying the show, though ducked out of sight when he was called out.)
The dancing and shaking never really stopped, except for in-between some songs when charismatic Ditto would have conversations with audience members, or tell stories or jokes, or rant. That was an equally entertaining part of the show- her personality is larger-than-life.
While The Gossip played plenty of great original material, Ditto liked to mix it up by throwing in lines or choruses from other bands’ songs, making for some fun mash-ups. Highlights included their song “8th Wonder” mashed up with Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” (complete with dedication to Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail), their song “Listen Up!” mashed with Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”, and their disco-drenched “Get Lost” with an interlude of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.”
The Gossip delivered a short but powerful encore- first a super-charged cover of the song made famous by Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” which had the audience going crazy and belting along to the chorus. They ended the night with their biggest hit, the knock-down, drag-out “Standing In the way of Control”, and Miss Ditto was not out of steam yet, starting it off with a soul-wrenching howl, and even turned this hit into a mash-up, throwing some of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” into the mix partway through. The Gossip had everyone in the club jumping and singing along to the very end, and of course left their fans full of joy, but starving for more.
*Avenue is a clothes store for big girls. Beth Ditto gave a shout-out to all the big girls in the audience and let them know she got her dress, a curve-hugging shimmery black number, from Avenue, on sale “really reasonable” and advised them to go get it themselves. Work it, gurl.