A/V Room









Gonzales - Mean Fiddler (April 2003)

Review: Roland Stanbridge-Miles

"HE'S a fucking genius!!". So declares Louie Austin, the smooth, white-suited, elderly crooner, of main man Chilli Gonzales, the best rapper that Canada (in fact, North America) has ever produced. He's right.

You know when you see something, be it a film, a place, or, in this case, a gig, that completely blows you away, yet you find it almost impossible to explain its brilliance to someone who wasn't there?

That's the situation I find myself in with Gonzales. But I will try my best, both as a 'thank you' for providing such entertainment for my measly tenner, and also in the hope that someone reads this, listens to his music and enjoys it as much as I did (Presidential Suite is the album to buy).

The show is set up as his retirement party. No need to worry, I think it's more the end of one phase of his career and the beginning of another, a bit like when Bowie killed off Ziggy Stardust, or even Gandalf the Grey in Fellowship of the Ring.

You can't have a party by yourself, so he's brought some friends along for the occasion.

These are: Peaches, the filthy fraulein dressed like a German prostitute from the early 80s; Feist, an innocent looking 70s child with an incredibly beautiful voice; two young male Canadian rappers, whose names I don't remember, and the aforementioned Mr Austin.

Each has their spell in the limelight, in addition to various collaborations.

A couple of strange instruments also appear, such as a mini-keyboard thing that you have to blow into (anyone know what it is? A free tin of beans to the first person to write in with the correct name!).

When not performing, they sit around a table at the back of the stage, drinking celebratory champagne from plastic cups.

It's all very theatrical, with several costume changes, including, fantastically, The Pink Suit, which is dusted off for a glorious, pumped-up Take Me To Broadway. Sample lyric: "And if I ever get there (get there), I'm gonna show my chest hair (chest hair)."

No chest hair on the two lady performers, and they whip the crowd
into a frenzy by singing a feisty duet, positioned on speaker stacks either side of the stage, so close the crowd you could almost touch them - which one bloke tries to do to Peaches, using his tongue!

Another settles for a close-up shot of her arse, which many people get a close-up of as she crowdsurfs during her own electro-clashy song.

Back to the main man, who for his finale, shows himself to be an accomplished pianist.

He tells us he wants to end with just him sitting alone on the stage in an empty venue.

Some people can't resist taking the opportunity to jump on-stage to shake his hand before leaving. Others hang around stubbornly in the hope that it's not really the end. But, sadly, the bouncers disagree.

So then, Gonzales. Not bad for a man with three testicles.



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