Alannah Myles gets lewd for the dudes in Vancouver

kevin statham photo


By Steve Newton

I’m pretty sure the booze wasn’t free at the Commodore last Saturday, but there sure seemed to be a lot of half-inebriated partyers in the crowd, which was going nutzoid for opening band Nine Below Zero’s version of Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again” when we walked in.

Perhaps some of the more lubricated folks viewed the occasion as the last opportunity to get a summer of ’94 piss-up under their belts, or maybe Alannah Myles fans are just prone to going that extra beer or two.

Whatever the reason, the packed house didn’t really need a pre-Myles coaxing to “go wild” when the Ontario rocker hit the stage.

“Are you ready for this tonight?” asked Myles before launching into her first hit single, “Love Is”. “Come on, don’t let the people in Nanaimo show you up.” The Commodore patrons met that challenge eagerly, wading onto the nearly packed dance floor.

I, for one, was glad that Myles was getting “Love Is” out of the way early, since it’s a flimsy bit of pseudo-pop pap that always gets on my nerves. When that song first came out five years ago, it turned me against the singer; it took the undeniable groove and sultry vocal of “Black Velvet ” to win me back.

Myles is at her best as a gravelly-voiced blues crooner, and she displayed considerable blues prowess on “It’s a Man’s World”, which also featured some scintillating guitar work from longtime band member Kurt Schafter. Her impressive band also included the rock-steady rhythm section of Nine Below Zero, whose newly released CD features Myles in a bluesy duet with singer-guitarist Dennis Greaves.

As is popular these days, the band sat down for an acoustic miniset that showed Schafter to be a skillful slide player as well. “Hurry, make love to me” pleaded Myles during one particularly smoky blues number, and the passion in her voice was like a beacon to the men on the floor, who seemed entranced by the shapely singer in the black leather pants and sparkling golden vest.

At one point during the sit-down set, she got into some touchy-feely interplay with the youthful band members snuggled next to her, but none of them seemed overly upset at being reduced to boy-toy status. Life could be worse, I suppose, and hey–they’re gettin’ paid.

After a fine set highlighted by the raucous boogie of “Still Got This Thing For You”, and a searing version of Neil Young’s “Southern Man”, Myles took her tramp persona to more outrageous heights during a Chuck Berry-style encore that saw her bending over and making lewd motions with a tambourine.

Considering how well Myles had sung throughout the show, I could forgive her that last-minute bit of doggie-style drama, but only on the condition that she reenact it during a future Juno Awards telecast.

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