While The Strip in Las Vegas brings to mind casino skylines and neon nights, “the strip” means something else to New York-based musical act The Skivvies, who appear at Cabaret Jazz Nov. 20-21. Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley were already performing stripped-down arrangements of pop songs in cabarets when Molina found herself lacking suitable couture before a video shoot. “We’ve been doing shows for 13 years,” said multi-instrumentalist Cearley, talking to Spotlight from New York. “Lauren was walking around in a bra looking for something to wear, and I said ‘Why don’t you just wear that?’”
The duo’s cover of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” garnered attention via a boost from Buzzfeed, and they adopted a stripped-down look for their live set six months later. The new approach added an extra dimension to their blend of musicality, cleverness and absurdity, as demonstrated by their mash-up of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” or juxtaposition of “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” with “Hot in Herre” and “Hot, Hot, Hot.”
There was one drawback though. “I think what we do can be misconstrued, because we perform in our underwear, as something that is bawdy or has a burlesque element in a sort of lewd sense,” said Molina, whose main instrument is the cello. “But what’s true is quite the opposite. It feels like a pajama party and it’s just pure fun, and really innocuous – almost kid-friendly – except we have a few songs that have bad words in them.”
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