“This is my ninth show here, and the first I’ve performed without a bra.” If you’re the kind of person who, on hearing a statement like that, whoops, this is the show for you. Storm Large is an Amazonian US rock star and raconteur, whose show Crazy Enough recounts her supposedly exotic life of drugs, sex and brushes with insanity. She has a terrific voice and considerable charisma, and uses them to tell us, repeatedly, how amazing and unconventional she is.
She may well be – but judging by Crazy Enough, her much-vaunted uniqueness is just your average adolescent sense of being different to everyone else. “All of my life, I never fit in,” she tells us, but her definition of non-conformism is the orthodox one. She got hooked on heroin, she got into rock music. She had sex when she was 13, and has had lots since – about which she is inordinately proud. She has a highly sexualised girl-power agenda; that dubious brand of feminism that involves boasting about one’s boob job. She gives the finger to music industry “assholes” because she refuses to be pigeonholed.
The only unorthodox part of this misfit-by-numbers shtick is that Large’s childhood was scarred by her mother’s mental health problems. But even these episodes are glossed to fit into Large’s egocentric narrative of victory-against-the-odds. Perhaps the full show (which has shrunk for its Edinburgh timeslot) does that story justice; here, the emoting comes cheaply.
It’s a shame, because Large and her band’s raunch-rock is undeniably powerful, and there’s a final song, a musical metaphor for Large’s inclusive worldview, that strikes just the right balance between funny and in-yer-face. “My vagina is eight miles wide / Absolutely everyone can come inside”. By that stage, however, it’s an offer one finds easy to decline.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010