The Seth Bogart Show @ the Shacklewell Arms 13.05.2016

Courtesy of Seth Bogart's Facebook page.
Courtesy of Seth Bogart’s Facebook page.

Friday the 13th – it’s not really a date you associate with campiness, vibrancy, playfulness and fun, is it? Yet, that was exactly what was expected when everyone paid £8 to see the Seth Bogart Show in the back room of the Shacklewell Arms. No prizes for guessing correctly that it was exactly what was expected either. It had John Waters levels of campiness, performance and spectacle. It really was… Ahem… fabulous.

Annoyingly, I arrived late, which meant that despite listening to support act, Boys Forever, for most of the day at work, I missed him. I’ve no doubts that based on his merchandise and the amount of people surrounding him at the end of the night that his set was pretty good. Either way, look him up. He is definitely worth a listen.

A flash of shiny pink moved past us as we tried to squeeze through the mass of people in the tiny venue to get a view of the stage. For once, it was kinda nice having beehives and elaborate hairdo’s obscuring my view – it’s all part of the show, right? We found a spot in good view of the whole thing and the video introduction began. It was cool, and set us up for the night.

The whole performance was set to 40 minutes of stop animation and film made by Seth Bogart and his friends. This included the official videos to some of the songs, but was also packed with funny little skits played while he changed costumes – a real showman. Seth bounded onto stage in his lipstick pink plastic suit, coloured-in jet-black hair and moustache, and red lips. Everyone fell in love (duh). Opening with ‘Hollywood Squares’ it didn’t take long for the audience to get into the swing of things, despite most of the projection being obscured because of how small the venue is, and his constant cries for everything to be louder.

Changing into a mesh tee, next up after a welcome and a thank you from the man himself, was his collaboration with Kathleen Hanna ‘Eating Make-up.’ The riot grrls in their bobbed hair bopped along while Seth playfully grabbed at the boys in the front row. By this point he was already covered in sweat, but never missed a beat or a line as he twirled and danced his way through the song. Other than previous Hunx and His Punx hit ‘Lover’s Lane’ I hadn’t really heard much of Bogart’s tender side, but his performance of ‘Forgotten Fantazy’ was genuinely sad, and a reminder that even babes like Bogart can have their hearts broken too. “It’s hard for me to know what you need, I’m your forgotten fantasy,” he sang as the visuals took a dark turn and he strummed on his guitar. It reminded me of Ariel Pink’s softer moments.

By the time Bogart began ‘Lubed,’ the audience had forgiven any technical mishaps and failings and were swirling around the venue in unison. I was into it, even though the hook was “don’t you wanna get lube,” which, if I’m honest, isn’t really the kind of line I’ve ever used. The real high point of the night, at least for me, was ‘Club With Me,’ where he sings in a high-pitched chipmunk voice and calls for everyone to turn their radio on to hear his song. As the lyrics suggested, it was time for everyone to dance and club with him. Seriously, so much fun and happiness in one song. I’m a sucker for fun, and everything. Everyone was in a good dancing mood, Seth was again twirling about onstage in a plastic biker jacket with ‘MAN EATER’ emblazoned on the back, duh. And the visuals ruled. It was a perfect four-minute song.

Following a warning about looking after the elusive “Daddy” and ensuring their survival, Seth bid us farewell. When the lights went up there was still a feeling of excitement in the little room. He had reminded us as he said his thanks that it might be the only touring performance of the Seth Bogart Show. Imagine that, only one chance to see it all, hear it all and dance along to it all. It was 40 minutes of near-perfection. But it definitely wouldn’t have been as much of a heavenly spectacle if it had been perfect, would it?

-Frieda Strachan