Leslie and the Ly's, Boone County Comedy Troupe, Dean and the Delilahs
The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
Feb. 8, 8 p.m.
$12 advance, $15 day of show
pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758
Gem your sweaters and dust off your party pants, Leslie and the Ly's are returning to Grand Rapids for a glamorous night of booty shaking and body rolls.
Fourteen years ago, before the glitz and glamor of fame took hold, Leslie Hall (prom queen of Ames High School in Iowa) started collecting and bedazzling gem sweaters. Soon, she had more than 400 and gained a cult following through her website gemsweaters.com, where she modeled them for her enraptured fans.
Her fan base, appropriately called 'Junior Gems,' helped launch her offbeat band, Leslie and the Ly's. Hall founded the group with her former classmates and In 2005, the band released its first album, Gold Pants, a glittery hip-hop record fusing '80s beats, keytar and snack-inspired rap.
Since then, Leslie and the Ly's has built a cult YouTube following with quirky videos like "Gem Sweater," "Zombie Killer" and "Power Cuddle." Additionally, the band has released five albums, toured across the United States and has even helped two couples seal the deal with one of the band's wedding packages.
After the December release of the group's latest album, Songs In The Key Of Gold, Leslie and the Ly's are back on the road and touring from coast to coast (a rarity for the band) with fresh, remixed versions of all the sparkly hits. Nashville-based producer Titus Jones worked on the album, remixing all of the tracks with more danceable beats. Out of all the songs, Hall's favorite is "Tight Pants/Body Rolls," and she's confident it'll be the track getting the crowd jumping and gyrating.
"I see men in the audience squeal with delight (when I play that song). It's like they get to blow out their birthday candles," Hall said.
The band kicks off their two-month tour in Kansas City on Feb. 5, but the members are especially eager to return to Grand Rapids and The Pyramid Scheme.
"People were excited to dance, and I just love the Grand Rapids energy," Hall said. "Clearly the water system has a pureness, because those people really are movin' and groovin'."
Hall even touted her love for the Larry David sandwich she got from Marie Catrib's the last time she visited, and who can blame her?
Still, going on tour is a labor of love for Leslie and the Ly's, who sew, design, and bedazzle every little stitch of their production, from the DJ table skirt and backdrops to the flashy outfits.
"It's like the biggest little circus in town and we put together this shimmy sham kind of stage show," Hall said. "I just want a big production, but in like, a little bar where you wouldn't expect that."
Beyond all of the talk of booties, cats, crafts and gems, Leslie and the Ly's members are ultimately putting themselves on stage in hopes that their fans take home a simple message.
"It's about body confidence, and just being yourself," Hall said.
"You know, I like to snack and you like to snack, and laziness is sometimes the best you can do when you have free time."