If I had known Internet stardom was as easy as being overweight and wearing a spandex gold suit, I would have video-taped my typical Friday night much sooner.
Unfortunately, Leslie Hall, frontwoman of electro-dance rap group Leslie and the LY’s beat me to the punch. Leslie and the ladies of Leslie and the LY’s are making their Philadelphia debut this Friday, Oct. 19 at the Leslie and the LY’s. Oh my Todd! will be hosting the $8 event with special guests Oh Murder! Inc., DJ RMT and Turbostation.
Leslie is a 24-year-old self-proclaimed “ceWebrity” who has become quite the household name since the debut of her online gem sweater museum.
Hall started collecting gem sweaters in high school after she noticed how much attention she got in her hometown of Ames, Iowa for wearing those woolen, glittery messes. Hall currently runs her own website show casing her obsession with gem sweaters. The display is an art: Hall sits expressionless, hands on shiny, gold spandex- laden thighs behind a shimmering explosion of sequins, beads and gems. She has over 165 gem sweaters in her collection and has been recognized by Vice magazine and VH1 for her unusual but fascinating showcase.
The gem sweater craze gave birth to Hall’s musical sideshow Leslie and the LY’s. Hall discovered she had “a beautiful gift of lazy jazz” while toying around on her Mac computer with the Garage Band program.
“It’s easy,” she said. “The gods of hip-hop have shined down upon me.”
Interestingly enough, Hall prefers to listen to country-pop classics such as Faith Hill and Tim McGraw over traditional hip-hop, which may explain why her style is so unique. Her 2005 release Gold Pants is packed with infectious dance songs with laugh-out-loud lyrics. Hall’s voice is a deep, powerful rumble of glamour, which embodies her persona. Her music marries the two things she loves most in this world: gem sweaters and funky dance moves. And her live shows are “fun and high energy,” full of faithful Leslie and the LY’s followers who usually come adorned in gem sweaters of their own.
What does Leslie want to see at her Oct. 19 Philadelphia show? “Creative people, glamorous people, someone dressed as the Liberty Bell and someone dressed as Betsy Ross.” Since this is Hall’s first time in Philadelphia, she’s excited to “pop its golden cherry.”
Hall is planning an exciting show for the tour of her 2006 album Door Man’s Daughter and will be doing four costume changes. She promises that she’ll be wearing her notoriously unflattering gold spandex suit.
“I’ve already gained ten pounds on this tour, and my mother makes all my gold suits the same size,” she said. “Expect me to move like a lizard snake.”
Hall’s sense of humor is wacky and unpredictable. She’s like a female Andy Milonokis with a “hey there, hon'” diner waitress, glitzed-out ’80s look. Her most unusual and head-tilting trick is the levitation stunt she does during her live shows. She straps herself in a makeshift harness about 5 inches above the ground and wiggles around, trying her best to maneuver herself and still choke out rhymes.
She got the idea from the first concert she ever attended – New Kids on the Block. They “levitated over the stage as they came on,” Hall said. “I knew I wanted to do that then and there.”
These days, Hall hopes to collaborate with artists like Britney Spears. Hall couldn’t help but sing, “Gimme, gimme, gimme… it’s like poetry.” Until her and Britney collaborate, Hall will be making four stops on her east coast tour and the Philadelphia show is not one to miss. If you can’t find a dope gem sweater, make sure to pick up a “crop top,” which Hall has decided is the newest trend. Heed these words: “Hey, Philly, get a crop top.”