Bristol's Badass Burlesque Show
Sabrina Chap’s got the cure for what ails you – and in true vaudeville fashion, she’s packed up her lyrical medicine show and is hitting the road to preach her truth and cast your demons out. (And maybe, just maybe, she might make out with you behind the tiny big top – if you’re lucky.)
Chap’s last album, “Oompa!” – a delightful ragtime and cabaret inspired romp – secured her place as a favorite travelling performer in the American burlesque and vaudeville circuit. Many a burlyq’er has swooned over the ecdysiastic possibilities for the saucy track, “Never Been A Bad Girl”, and audiences across America have been titillated speechless by the deceptively sweet and shocking “The One Thing I Have Never Done.” (Alternately titled, “The Dirty Song” – not available on either of her albums, but a frequently-requested live crowd favorite.) She’s even rewritten the classic jazz ditty “Booty Swing” (revamped to “Burlesque Booty Swing”) to pay name-dropping tribute to just a few of the various burlesque beauties that she’s shared dressing rooms and drinks with across the country.
“We Are the Parade”, Chap’s newest body of work, lures you in with the familiar promise of amusing wordplay and rollicking tunes – and to be sure, there’s plenty to be had. She’ll waltz you around the room until you’re breathless with glee, or recite dirty jokes in the corner until you’re in stitches – but then she’ll pour you a whiskey and sit you down for a real fucking heart-to-heart about life’s bullshit. She’ll take your hand to steady your teacup when you’re trembling through heartache, but also to drag you off the floor and out into the streets to march in the parade gathering steam outside. (As per the title track – part spunky battle cry, part jubilant love anthem.)
It’s a scrapbook of human experience – and each track is further evidence of hard-earned growth, both personal and artistic. The lyrics reflect not only Chap’s trademark wit and raunch, but also soul-searingly honest emotional reflection and world-weary political satire. The catchy melodies of “Oompa” have given way to fascinatingly complex orchestrations that mimic the indescribable drama of ordinary human emotion. Chap’s distinctive voice is supported by over 25 musicians, and backed by Brooklyn post-punk soul band Ava Luna, who chime in with doo-wop choruses, Andrews Sisters-esque crooning, and occasionally, cheerleading chants. The album incorporates such a wide variety of musical influences – ragtime, dixie, swing, cabaret, soul, blues, latin, big band – that each song feels like a postcard from a different time and place, with notes and anecdotes scribbled across the back.
Ultimately, the album serves as a peek inside the dusty, well-worn suitcase of this ambitious contemporary American artist and world-traveller. …But are these truly momentos and dog-eared diary pages on display, or novelty amusements and miracle elixirs carefully curated for your benefit? You’ll have to “take a chance on this quick romance” with Sabrina Chap and decide for yourself. Either way, she’ll fix you up good.
You can find more information and listen to her albums on her website, as well as learn about her other artistic endeavors. (Most notably, “Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction” – a collection of stories, artwork, and photography by a variety of artists, exploring the intersection of creative and destructive forces – a topic all too resonant to many of us in the arts.)
Or check her out live! She’ll be touring the UK this fall – performing at burlesque shows, queer parties, and cabarets, as well as lecturing on mental health and creativity. You can find the complete tour details below, as well as here. All dates 2013.
Nov. 22 – Party Launch Glasgow
ALSO Nov. 23 Sabrina Chap – Full Cabaret Set Riding Room 58 Virginia Street Merchant City, G1 1TX Glasgow, United Kingdom 11 pm. Facebook event.
Nov. 24 – Dive Cabaret/Burlesque Edinburgh Nov. 26 – Bar Wotever Royal Vauxhall Tavern 372 Kennington Lane, SE11 5HY Doors 6pm-Midnight, on stage 8.30 Entry Free, but we will shake that bucket to help covering travels etc.. Facebook event.
Nov. 28 – Queer Cabaret Leeds
Nov. 29– La Boheme Burlesque La Boheme Cross York Street, Drinks – 7 pm, Show – 9 pm. Facebook event.
Nov. 30 – Duckies Manchester