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THE GREAT WHITE MALES: CUNCRETE | LIVE PREVIEW

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photo: Paul Samuel White

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Fri 10 Nov

Equal parts rock gig and theatre show, Cuncrete is a lurid depiction of alpha masculinity through the unlikely – and yet also not – prism of architecture. Built around self-described “anti-virtuoso house band” The Great White Males, comprised of four drag kings, the performance promises noisy, lo-fi punk music and archly satirical lyrics. Aberystwyth, says Cuncrete creator Rachael Clerke, will be their penultimate show: “It’ll be the 48th of 49 performances – we’ve decided to put it out of its misery before the big 5-0.”

Clerke is a performance artist runs ‘punk band workshops’ for teenage girls in her home town of Bristol. The Great White Males recently released a very entertaining four-song debut EP via Bandcamp, as well. “Being the frontperson in a band always seemed unattainable, but it turns out you can just do it. Now I’m thinking about other things teenage boys do that seem unattainable. I’m going to learn how to do wheelies on my bike next.” Cuncrete’s central protagonist, and TGWM vocalist, is Archibald Tactful (Clerke). Billed as a “washed-up architect”, his career, and those of his bandmates, explain why many of TGWM’s songs are about housing (Right To Buy, Everybody Wants A Home) or brutalism (Brutal! Brutal!). “Each Great White Male represents a different echelon of ultra-privilege,” Clerke explains. “The property developer Little Keith, the politician Johnnie Jove, the landowner Jonty, Earl of Titworth, and Archibald.”

Clerke’s relationship with both drag king culture and architecture is one of fascination, rather than professional or hobbyist per se. “In 2014 I made a show where I dressed up as Alex Salmond, Donald Trump and Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, all in an hour. I didn’t think about it as drag until long afterwards, but it feels like a pretty natural thing to do. I wouldn’t be doing this without Cindy Sherman and Oreet Ashery and Christeene and Diane Torr.

“The show and the songs are about men, and brutalism, for sure. But it’s all really about idealism and power and greed. I think architecture is a good way of talking about that. Also, tower blocks look like cocks.”

Tickets: £7.50. Info: 01970 623232

words NOEL GARDNER

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