A&E » Arts

A New Year for all the senses

Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz deliver ear and eye candy for blues rod



What: New Year’s Eve

Who: Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz

When: Monday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.

Where: Dusty’s

Tickets: $40

Kitten with a Whip by Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz is kind of an Ode to Russ Myer’s 1960s film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Bate’s lyrics about the feisty kittens is further fleshed out in concert with the burlesque-dancing Dollz shaking up 1960s moves.

“We’ve designed the burlesque all around the music; it completely adds to it,” frontman Bates said. “It’s like some people like to watch silent movies while others want to see a movie with a soundtrack. Some people prefer to see a video than just listen to a record. Our shows get all the senses involved.”

Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz is both ear and eye candy, with the hot rod blues show and burlesque babes ringing in the New Year on Dec. 31 at Dusty’s at Creekside.

“We’ve always got new material and new numbers,” he said. “The costume people are working on stuff all the time. We’ve always got different girls as well.”

Little Miss Risk and Lola Frost will be teasing audiences in fishnets and garters, whipping audiences into one serious dancing frenzy with Bates’s band leading the way.

Exclaim Magazine called a Bates show, “More fun than a midnight drag race fueled by a fifth of bourbon!”

Bates charges forward at the speed of a dragster on dobro, banjo and lead vocals with sCare-oline on upright bass and backing vocals. A new drummer, JT Massacre, joined the Bates hell-raising ranks to record the band’s most recent album, Take Your Medicine on Wolverine records in 2006.

The rockin’ blues sound of the release is a big departure from their greasy, punk-abilly surf beginnings with albums such as Flamethrower on El Toro and Mystiki on DSR — not that fans minded at the time. Mystiki rode the national college charts in the Top 50 for six consecutive weeks.

The Vancouver-based showmen and showgirls deliver a dark and bizarre, but not without humour, one-of-a-kind show that carries listeners into another world straight from hell.

Throw all morals aside, Bates’s showstoppers are not afraid to deliver shock value. Bates, who grew up on the music of Alice Cooper, said anyone who gets off to the Cramps, Reverend Horton Heat, Social D, Black Keys, Eagles of Death Metal or 16 Horsepower is going to enjoy his minor-key mania.

“We are not trying to be a big pop band,” Bates said. “We are just providing a fun show.”

The band performs 100 times a year with tours throughout North America and Europe, including regular appearances at the Canadian BBQ Championships in Whistler every summer. This year’s credits build on the more than 450 shows in 13 countries the group has clocked in, including headlining Alberta's 29th North Country Fair rocking out to crowds of 4,000 this year. Between headlining summer festivals in 2007, including the NXNE in Toronto and NHRA Drag Races in the Midwest, there is no rest for this wicked group. Bates and his Dollz also performed at Santa Monica’s Summer Strummer Festival, where the group was praised as “the most surprising band” of the festival by music critics.

“We were the only Canadians there,” Bates said. “All reviews said that we were the most unexpected band of the evening over the two-day festival.”

Expect the unexpected with Bates and the Dollz’s charismatic and sultry garage blues this New Year’s Eve. And Bates’s New Year’s resolution? Not to make one. He’s too busy living them.