New York City filth and glamour band Semi Precious Weapons performed in Vancouver for two nights this week opening for Lady Gaga at Rogers Arena. The band, which is promoting its major label Universal debut album You Love You, have garnered a cultish following of Gaga fans and some glamorous followers of their own over the last two years of the Monster Ball Tour.
As per usual for an opening act, SPW had limited stage room, but they weren’t limited in energy and performance. In fact, the outrageous rockers pushed the limits with a few cuss words and even a slow costume change from singer Justin Tranter, who appeared completely naked from a distance, but we believe (and really do hope), he had his most precious diamonds protected with a flesh covered tight of some sort. Either way, it was a full moon from where I was sitting.
The band opened with the self-titled anthem Semi Precious Weapons, which begins with their signature phrase “I can’t pay my rent, but I’m fucking gorgeous”. The song sounded far better than the version on the album and even more superior to previous versions that have popped up on EPs and independent albums throughout the band’s four year history.
The show was full of energy, Lady Gaga pride and a whole lot of glamour. Tranter is a diva without the bullshit attitude. He looks great, struts on stage in his glittery high heals and prances around with a certain grace that an early David Bowie, Gary Glitter or T-Rex might have had at the beginning of their careers. He loves to talk and he’ll promote SPW and Gaga when given the chance to speak in between songs.
The set had all the essential SPW tracks that one would hope for, including the previously mentioned SPW, Put A Diamond In It and the infectious Magnetic Baby. Although fulfilling on CD, SPW really is a live band that has a hard time being captured on album. The whole thing had a New York underground feel to it. You’ll either love ‘em or hate ‘em, but you’ll damn well know they exsit. SPW is rock n’ roll in its rawest and rarest. And Lady Gaga fans around the world got to experience them on their first major tour.
Photo from Semi Precious Weapons MySpace