LOS ANGELES The Cult played a short surprise set, and members of Hole, Marilyn Manson and Coal Chamber joined models, drag queens and acrobats on the catwalk Saturday night at the one-year anniversary of the monthly glam-rock party Makeup.
The event, always somewhat of a costume affair for the patrons, is held on the first Saturday of every month at the El Rey Theatre. On this night, the crowd included a man in nothing but a gold loincloth and matching gold wig, a drag queen in a Kiss halter-top and panties, and a dominatrix wearing head-to-toe fuchsia and holding a whip.
"There hasn't been anything like this since Studio 54 in New York," Jason Lavitt, who co-promotes Makeup with Joseph Brooks, said. "And there's never been anything like it in L.A. It was much needed."
Saturday's anniversary celebration took the music-meets-fashion theme a few steps further, becoming part dance club, part rock concert, part fashion show. Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson, Marilyn Manson guitarist/bassist Twiggy Ramirez and Coal Chamber guitarist Miguel "Meegs" Rascon were special guests in the fashion segment, hosted by local designer Terry King.
Wearing solid black, Erlandson and Ramirez emerged onto the catwalk to the tune of ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" while models in skimpy red numbers scurried around them.
In addition to the event's rock-star participants, Rob Zombie, Ice-T and Fishbone vocalist Angelo Moore were spotted in the crowd.
Reunited rockers the Cult, in fact, decided to hop up onstage after the bandmembers discovered they all had come to check out the event independently, according to guitarist Billy Duffy. "It just seemed like a good idea at the time, which was about 11:57," he said of his band's two-song performance, which began shortly after midnight. "It was about as spontaneous as it comes."
The crowd's response was a mix of delight and indifference when the Cult emerged onstage and launched into "Wild Flower" (RealAudio excerpt) from 1987's Electric. The band left the stage after finishing the tune, apparently opting to give the impromptu performance an early end. One of the drag-queen hosts then took the microphone and attempted to rouse the crowd, saying, "I can't hear you. .... Good God, it's only the Cult!"
The subsequent cheers were enough to bring the band back. "Rock 'n' roll and glam-rock and punk rock are alive," singer Ian Astbury said as he returned to the mic for "Love Removal Machine."
The Cult, who are working on their first album since their self-titled 1994 release, followed a performance by the Led Zeppelin cover band 21st Century Zep, featuring former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry, Black Grape guitarist Danny Saber, Other Star People guitarist Xander Smith and Bland X drummer Ronnie Clago.
The group kicked into "Rock and Roll" (RealAudio excerpt of Led Zeppelin version), with Perry, who wore a red American Indian headdress and a black leather outfit, taking on the vocal lines made famous by Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant. Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward joined in at one point, taking Clago's place for a few songs.
Makeup's promoters asked 21st Century Zep to play after seeing the band's first show last month. "Where else could you play Led Zeppelin all night?" Perry said, as she talked with revelers in the lobby afterward. "This is just a f---ing freak show."
The crowd didn't faze Ice-T, however. "It's just your basic boring L.A. crowd," said the rapper, who came dressed for the occasion in a full-length red coat and matching hat. "Just my basic pimp sh--," he said of his outfit.
Ice-T (born Tracy Marrow) said Heidi Siegmund, who edited his book, "The Ice Opinion," told him to check out the event. "I'm into f---ing everything," he said. "It gives me more material. ... Even if you don't write a song about it, you soak it in."