Written for AUX.
Recently we saw Sigur Ros’ Jonsi dawn some scattered rags during his performance as well as MGMT wearing capes. Standing on stage in blue jeans or even having a personal stylist give the band a more rock ‘n’ roll look might not cut it these days. Enter the extravagant stage dress that provides a visual experience to correspond with the music. Over the years several different forms of fashion have come and gone during music gigs and now that trend seems to have emerged again. No doubt Lady Gaga has turned heads with her strikingly bizarre costumes, yet lyrical her material fails to convince. Here are a list of performers who’ve used their costumes to not only wow the audience, but also transform themselves into a visual image of their music.
In 1972, David Bowie strapped on his red mullet and extravagant outfits to become Ziggy Stardust and toured the United States for the very first time. Androgynous, flamboyant, Bowie’s alter ego fit in perfectly with the glam rock trend that was happening around that time. The clothing he wore that would later be copied and expanded by other musicians was only part of the performance as Bowie’s on-stage antics became more and more eclectic such as simulating oral sex with Mick Ronson’s guitar.
One of the most notoriously diverse musicians who actually caught her first break with a band called The Sugarcubes, Bjork’s art has flourished through music, film and fashion. From wearing a pom pom wig on stage to a swan dress at the Oscars back in 2001, Bjork’s fearless and at times mind-blowing style has made her and what she wears iconic.
Having been around since the late ‘60s and released over sixty albums of their own avant-garde music, members of the band The Residents have tried terribly to conceal their identities. In concert they remain silent and wear eyeball helmets, top hats and tuxedos. Still touring and creating music today, the band put out two albums last year and a DVD called Is Anybody Out There, a collection of YouTube videos. And if you’ve seen any of these videos you won’t be surprised what a string of eyeball musicians have created.
GWAR are a thrash metal band formed at a University in Virginia who “claimed to consist of all-powerful interplanetary warriors, descended from aliens stranded in Antarctica and initially created from the lowest filth in the universe, who came to Earth to sexually enslave and/or slaughter the human race,” according to Allmusic. Members perform under aliases with names like Balsac the Jaws of Death and the Sexecutioner. The band dress in bizarre sci-fi/horror costumes and perform fake pagan rituals on stage. Check out an unmasked interview with GWAR on AUX TV’s HARD.
For someone who changes their name to a symbol or asks people to simply refer to them as “The Artist,” you know their soul is screaming to show itself through clothing, so it’s no wonder Prince has been seen in some very eclectic and usually revealing outerwear. Everything from bright coloured suits to guitars in the shape of his symbol, Prince has made a name for himself musically with chart topping albums, such as 1984’s Purple Rain, and stylistically with memorable stage shows and costumes.