Dave Stewart, right, performed Friday night at El Rey Theatre. (Lucha VaVoom)
The El Rey Theatre in Mid-Wilshire transformed itself into a surreal spectacle of red velvet, glamour, music, burlesque and the bizarre Friday night. This was no ordinary show; it was the first ever “VaVoom – A Rock N Roll Circus.”
The decadent show is a collaborative effort between the Grammy-winner Dave Stewart and Rita D’Albert, co-founder of Lucha VaVOOM — the local Mexican wrestling-burlesque troupe whose outrageous performances sell out time and time again. It is a rock show with interwoven circus bits intertwined in the lyrics, replete with areal acrobats, burlesque dancers, pole princesses, contortionists, clowns and other eccentric characters.
The evening’s ringmaster, Stewart, complete with a top hat and silver glitter across his face, was not far off when he said that this show is like stepping inside a modern Toulouse-Lautrec painting. The vintage venue, complete with red velvet curtains, giant chandeliers and elegant light fixtures on the wall, is the perfect locale for a Vaudevillian like affair.
Dj Lina Lecaro kicked-off the night of music and theatrics and warmed up the crowd with a medley of sexy of rock n’ roll tunes.
The music they performed was a variety of rock classics ranging from The Rolling Stones and The Beatles to the Runaways and of course, the Stewart’s own, Eurhythmics. Grace Potter even made an appearance and performed “Here Comes the Rain Again.”
The energy was high and the venue was saturated with sound; I could literally feel my body reverberate with every note, which never fails to remind you of how amazing the acoustics of the venue are.
One of the highlights of the night happened when the former Eurhythmics singer performed “Drugs Taught Me A Lesson,” from his latest album Lucky Numbers. This is a deeply personal song for Stewart as he struggled with addiction in the past, and while one might think this tune has the possibility of being preachy, it is far from that. It’s more of a celebratory tune which, in this case came, accompanied by the notorious luchadores of Lucha VaVoom, Poubelle Twins-Chickens, who carried a giant pill onstage.
Green Fuzz, came out of the pill to perform an erotic striptease with glowing green neon pasties and a skin colored thong with single leaf, which covered her girly bits.
Shortly after that, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” began to play and a large ring appeared onstage and two areal performers conducted a seductive and daring routine that made everyone’s jaws drop. The psychedelic circus was in full force.
The ringmaster’s face was covered in glitter, his suit sparkly and his energy contagious. Throughout the performance Stewart was backed by multiple musicians and back up singers that floated on and off the stage sprinkling excitement and wonder onto the crowd. Of course, he played “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” and of course the audience echoed the words with delight.
As the show came to an end, Stewart performed the Rolling Stones’ “Gimmie Shelter” while joined by the entire cast onstage. Then the lights went out and the platform went silent, but the crowd asked for more. So they gave more. This time it was the lovely D’Albert, which took the stage and sealed the night with an electrifying rendition of The Runaways’ hit “Cherrybomb.” Did I forget to mention she was convoyed by a hula-hoop sensation with unparalleled skill?
Only two words are needed to sum up this eclectic event: absolutely fantastic!