Watching drag queens lip-synch to Cher.
The Gravy Train!!!! show at the hi-dive featured flamingly gay men dressed in tighty-whiteys, plenty of silver lamé and kitschy, juvenile sexuality resulting in the type of campy theatrics rarely seen outside of a drag-queen revue. An enthusiastic all-ages crowd packed in front of the stage and bounced along with every cheesy, goofball second of the show. Musically, it amounted to X-rated electro-clash vaudeville, mashing girl-group sweetness with sleazy R&B grooves and pumping the whole mess into a half retarded, half hilarious dance party of epic proportions.
In between songs, the Gravy Trainers threw out lewd, crude jokes and comments about cocaine, STDs and flatulence. Performing on a keyboard full of canned beats with a smattering of live electric guitar playing, Gravy Train!!!! focused on the choreography and mood to good effect. It was contrived and silly beyond comparison -- the songs were flat-out dumb, the hooks were obvious to the point of cliché and the humor would’ve been right at home in any junior high locker room -- but it was also damn fun. Resistance was futile. You could either dance, smile and laugh along with them or be forced to admit that you’re just too damn old and cynical to enjoy yourself and then creep back home to yell at those pesky neighborhood kids to keep off your damn lawn.
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Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I have a hard time believing I’d ever buy a Gravy Train!!!! record, but I’d go see them again without hesitation. Random Detail: The men, either gay or pretending to be, got almost naked, while the women stayed pretty much fully clothed. It was a welcome inversion of the usual macho sexuality of rock. By the Way: A late night at the office and an early start for this all-ages show meant I missed the openers.