“Blame Darwin,” reads the Amplify!! music conference website. “The creature has evolved …” Indeed, this year’s festival welcomed more than 100 local and visiting bands to eight Downtown stages, as well as headliners like Hawthorne Heights and Vanilla Ice. But some things never change. Amidst four nights ostensibly devoted to supporting developing musicians and propping up the local music scene, crowds ultimately flocked to something truly timeless: sex.
While peers played to sometimes depressingly flimsy crowds, Beauty Bar’s backyard was packed in anticipation of Deadly Seven’s Thursday-night performance. The Vegas showgirls-turned-rockers don’t play instruments, or sing particularly well, so why the impressive turnout? Easy. It’s their outfits.
Dressed in patent leather boots and fake-blood-smeared panties—and with well-positioned electrical tape covering their nipples (except when a minor wardrobe malfunction meant that it didn’t)—Deadly Seven peddled sex with a dash of rock ’n’ roll. The seven women pranced, sang, flipped the bird at cameras and ground against each other with such reckless enthusiasm that they sometimes toppled to the stage in a mess of tanned limbs and bare skin. Whether or not you care for their music, the Seven put on a show—part performance art, part exotic dance, part live karaoke.
The largest crowd I saw during Amplify!!, however, was not gawking at Deadly Seven’s nearly bare breasts. Wednesday night, while local rockers Lydia Vance laid down a set for a couple dozen fans upstairs at Jillian’s and Vegas fivesome Serene played downstairs, a crowd of well over 100 was contentedly toe-tapping to a slightly sexier performance on Fremont Street. For a moment I thought an Amplify!! act had won over the tourists; then I heard the hook of Katy Perry’s recent ode to girl-on-girl action. “I kissed a girl, and I liked it,” sang the cover band’s vocalist, swinging her hips to the music. When I stepped inside Celebrity a few minutes later, Otto’s Daughter was playing to an audience of five.