Rock Hard Burlesque shakes up the Icehouse


Finding I had some time available late Saturday last week I started browsing for potential gigs. Somehow The Icehouse has become my go to for that time slot. A very good restaurant until 10 PM, it turns into bona fide concert venue after that. They host shows during the day as well, but their versatility shines late at night. Folksy bands, rock bands, EDM, I have seen it there. Got to see a crowd surfer at an Adam Green’s show – and a hand puppet in the audience. But even I did a double take at the event scheduled that night. Rock Hard Burlesque? A punk band? Dancers? How could I miss that?

The performers turned out to be a who’s who of Twin Cities burlesque stars. MCed by Musette (the Mistress of Mischief) the cast featured Elektra Cute, Kistson Sass, Pistol Prudence, Sass von Straddler and Sweatpea. The band was Liquor Beats Winter. Musette started the show with the words “Are you ready? I don’t think so.” and turns out, I was not.

Kistson Sass and Pistol Prudence opened as a duo on a Lyra just above the heads of the audience with the rest of the cast doing their numbers on stage. It was quite interesting to see the different personalities of the ladies shine through. Burlesque is a different from the old walk on stage, shake your tata, swing around the pole one that me singing in the shower is from the Minnesota Opera. The dances are carefully choreographed and many include props such as fans, the biggest feather boa I have ever seen, and Musette’s amazing feather headdress that splits into two. The audience was a very interesting mix and (for me) with a surprisingly high percentage of women. This was clearly about women being empowered to be themselves.  The mood was boisterous throughout the show. People were clearly out to have fun and the performers provided in spades.

Throughout the show, Liquor Beats Winter music kept pulling me in. The band held up to the badass women on stage,  and even with all the action my eyes kept looking for David C. Steffens, the band’s front man and singer. At the end of the performances Musette unleashed the fully fury of Liquor Beats Winter and it turned out the be the most ass kicking set I have seen at the Icehouse. How to describe them? If a mad scientist took the Blues Brothers, Tom Waits, and the Sex Pistols, cloned them into one band and fed them Red Bull. Lots and lots of Red Bull, and Beer. Their music is wild. Trumpet, Harmonica and a Kazoo blend with vocals and most songs are performed at a speed that will leave you breathless.

Dancers and band came together for a finale that had most of the audience join in. If you get a chance to see Rock Hard Burlesque, do it! You will leave the show like I did. Shaking your head in amazement and a shit eating grin on your face.