Montreal’s Café Cleopatra is perched on the dingy south side of St. Laurent. Amidst the hot dog windows and sex-o-theques, it is an intimate warm refuge on a second story and it’s where we caught the sultry Meschiya Lake and Her Little Big Horns.
The tattooed babe with big pipes and red hair cast a spell over the crowd of thirty-something couples garbed in vintage frocks and shiny loafers. In long sweeping notes her deep, smokey vocals dripped of hot July sex. The slow trombone provided intermittent groans and moans that had us all wanting to spread our legs and bend deep on the dance floor. But when the rhythm sped up, the crowd followed and soon the venue felt like a set from Swing Kids.
But it wasn’t just the music that captured our attention. Meschiya knows how to perform and has a Bettie Paige look with a Marilyn delivery. The boys in the band know how to dress the part too and for a while we were convinced that we were not at Festimania but rather a speakeasy in the backwoods of Louisiana.
Hailing from New Orleans, Meschiya reinvents traditional big band music into a feeling we wanna drink and a scene we can’t wait to catch again. It tasted like whiskey slipping down a hard nipple: arousing and badass. Since we didn’t have a dance partner, we sashayed around the cocktail bar along with the drag queen cocktail waitress. Occasionally, we’d twirl into the washroom to slow dance with ourselves in the mirror.
By the time we floated onto St. Laurent, we weren’t sure what city we were in or even what decade. And thus this show truly fulfills the Zoofest mandate, creating a wild adventure and unique experience.
~ Photos by Becca Lemire