November 27, 2008

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Quartet with a twist
Lascivious Biddies bring their cheeky style of pop on the rocks to Capitol

By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

Imagine a musical version of Sex and the City — four women from New York City playing pop and jazz sounds that fizz and sparkle like a jewel-toned cocktail, all masters of their instruments, their collective résumé including performances with such artists as Enya, Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry and even Jay-Z.

The ladies of The Lascivious Biddies will bop their way into the Spotlight Café at Concord’s Capitol Center for the Arts on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.

The group had brief beginnings as a Go-Go’s cover band before deciding to branch out into performing and writing original material, but they are still known for their clever, sometimes cheeky covers of songs by The Smiths, Jimi Hendrix, Lesley Gore, and even a rather sultry cover of the Mister Rogers tune “Neighbor.”

The upbeat foursome includes Deidre Rodman on piano, Lee Ann Westover on vocals, Saskia Lane on bass and Ila Cantor on guitar. The ladies’ unique sound, which they’v dubbed “cocktail pop,” is fun and frothy, but these women are anything but frivolous, and include a published writer, a Juilliard graduate, a multi-linguist and a circus performer in their ranks.

Performing cabaret, jazz and pop with four-part harmonies, the Biddies and their music have been featured on NPR and the BBC, The Food Network, Fuse, The Discovery Channel, CBS Evening News and even a national TV commercial for Chili’s Restaurants. The group has also performed at such historic venues as The Kennedy Center and Birdland.

Individually, the women have résumés longer than the Brooklyn Bridge.

Rodman started out playing for the Big Apple Circus, and soon was collaborating with Natalie Merchant and Debbie Harry, as well as performing with Elvis Costello, and Cantor leads her own jazz trio, The Trapezoids, when not playing with the Biddies. Westover’s songs have been featured in films screened in festivals all over the world, including Sundance, Venice and Tribeca, and her Biddies tune “Famous” was honored in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Lane plays with family-friendly singer Dan Zanes when she’s not with the ladies of Lascivious, and has an upcoming record with reggae star Ziggy Marley set for release.

To date, the Biddies have two albums and two EPs under their designer couture belts, including 2002’s Biddi-luxe!, I Feel Biddy, Get Lucky, and their latest, Love You Mean It, which features a modern take on the Marilyn Monroe classic “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” The group will release a holiday record later this year, which will include some original Biddy carols, as well as classic favorites “White Christmas” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The band also has a live performance DVD, Live in New York City, recorded during a 2006 concert.

For a band as unique as the Biddies, only a unique name would do, and it came to Rodman while at a jazz workshop in Canada, where she mentioned it to the group’s original guitarist, Amanda Monaco.

When Monaco headed back to New York, she mentioned her conversation with Rodman to singer Lee Ann Westover, with whom she was looking at forming a band.

Eight years later, the Biddies are going strong, proving through their music and live performances that they are like a good cocktail — smooth, bubbly and cool — with a kick.


The Lascivious Biddies
When: Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.
Where: Spotlight Café, Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main St., Concord.
Tickets: $30, 225-1111 or www.ccanh.com