In a perfect world, Princess Superstar would be more famous than Madonna, Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani rolled into one. Impenetrable though it sometimes becomes, her set, at its best, constitutes a kind of perfect pop music for the post-modern age and makes a mockery of the above-named stars' facile attempts at reinvention. In these attention-deficient times, it's easy for a star to pass themselves off as remade and remodelled by selecting a new outfit and adding or subtracting a perfunctory dancebeat from their music as fashion dictates. What's far more difficult is to question your own existence while simultaneously celebrating it in song.
At once, this is Concetta Kirschner's main selling point, as well as the millstone around her neck. The same applies to her imagea bottle blonde with a Philadelphian accent honed by and submerged beneath many years living in New York City. She plays an unashamedly fashionable mixture of hip-hop rhymes over thick, seedy electrobeats, augmented by a live drummer and guitarist.
PS resembles a lad-mag fantasy figure such as Britney or Christina, while sounding like an altogether more respectable hybrid of Peaches and Goldfrapp. The combination should by rights be box-office gold, although it's possibly the resulting perception of her as a glamour-puss bandwagon-jumper that means she's playing only to a modest crowd in the few-hundred capacity venue.
It's an impression partly founded upon her biggest hit in the UK, the superficially teasing "BadBabysitter" ("I'm a bad babysitter/ Got my boyfriend in the shower/ Making six bucks an hour"). When she played it at this gig, pulling on the miniskirt and picking up the pom-poms which are part of the act, she seemed at, once to be gratified that the crowd knew it, but also somewhat abashed at its childish pantomime.
It was an anachronism in comparison to the rest of the set, but fitted in well on a surface level. That's because Princess Superstar is still all about such showmanship and role-playing, yet there's nothing childlike in her newer material. The song "10,000 Hits" deploys scathing, world-weary sarcasm in the thought that 10,000 more "Bad Babysitter's" will make her rich, and it's aimed at both herself and the grasping nature of the industry she's in.
Elsewhere, the songs are similarly mature, in that they present complicated and expertly rhymed thoughts amid a backdrop of sexual innuendo. "Push, Make It Work" is like the X-rated version of Madonna's "Erotica", while "Sex, Drugs and Drugs" is a tongue-in-cheek lambasting of voracious, cannibalistic metropolitan party scenes.
Displaying an obvious disregard for the trappings of fame, Princess Superstar probably doesn't care about being a pop star anyway. Yet thats also precisely why she deserves attention, and from there the adulation is surely just a short step away.
- David Pollock