Gossip @ Maggie Mae’s Rooftop 03.15

Posted March 16, 2012 in
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The crowd at Maggie Mae’s packed in close to the tiny stage in anticipation of Gossip's performance, which made for a situation that the makeshift security guards weren’t pleased with. Twenty minutes before the show even began, they were urging people to take two steps back and threatening anyone who so much as placed a foot on the wooden steps leading up the stage. No one really listened and people continued to filter through the taped-off path that led to the bathrooms located behind the stage. Finally, out of desperation, security announced that they were closing those bathrooms. Three dudes in cargo shorts lined the stage—completely blocking the line of vision where the lovely Beth Ditto would be performing. “Are these three baboons in cargo shorts going to stand there the entire show,” I wondered aloud to the woman standing next to me. “I fuckin’ hope not, I’m here for Beth Ditto, not these tools.” Luckily, as soon as the band took the stage the security guards receded from their posts. When Beth Ditto emerged, wearing a sequin gold butterfly shawl, security’s extended efforts to move the crowd away from the stage were thwarted. Everyone squished back in—getting as close to the stage as possible.

Beth Ditto immediately started a group chant of “Ain’t no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don’t stop!” From there she dove into an almost hour long set—playing hits that spanned all four Gossip albums and occasionally covering songs from other pop artists. A few songs in, Ditto removed her black heels and dove into her rendition of Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop” before asking the crowd to tell Lil’ Wayne that there is a short fat lesbian, also from the south, interested in lickin’ you like a lollipop. This kind of lighthearted fun overwhelmed Gossip’s entire set.

When a dreadlocked man attempted to use the bathroom behind the stage, forcing him to walk on the stage, he was instantly pulled away by security, Ditto chased the two down, grabbed dreadlock guy’s hand and pulled him back on stage. “Sir, are you in the band Korn?” she asked him. He pulled up his shirt to show off a protruding beer gut and some nipple rings and she grabbed his hand again and continued to perform. Ditto is a performer of the people, and was more concerned with pleasing her rabid fans then appeasing the cargo-shorted security men. Although Ditto’s defiant antics of pulling fans on stage and dancing through the crowd made the show extremely fun, what is, and has always been most captivating about Gossip is Beth Ditto’s massive vocals. As I stood in the front dancing wildly I wailed along with Ditto, tossing my hair and not giving a fuck that I might not have a voice tomorrow.

For the last few songs of the night Ditto removed her black dress and chose to perform in bra, panties and a fishnet body tube. It was a move that made security visibly uncomfortable and sent the already-wild crowd into a frenzy. If Beth Ditto were a YouTube video, she would be the honey badger, because Beth Ditto don’t give a fuck. Probably standing under 5 ft tall and weighing much more than average, Beth Ditto doesn’t have the body type that most people would want to see in a tube of fishnet. But Ditto has so much confidence and personality that on-stage she is Goddess-like. She could be wearing cargo shorts and still look ready to conquer the world.

I’m not sure if the sound guy cut Ditto’s mic intentionally or if it was a coincidental sound blip, but during the last song the thing stopped working. Unfazed, Ditto discarded the mic and changed the song into a sort of call and response—screaming into the crowd and having them scream the lyrics back at her. The set ended in the same way it began. Ditto began a group chant of “Ain’t no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don’t stop!”

As the show ended and security of the club announced over the intercom that it was time to go home I couldn’t stop smiling. Beth Ditto and Gossip blew my mind to pieces. It was amazing. I can't wait until May 22 when Gossip's fifth studio album, A Joyful Noise, hits record stores.