Hank & Cupcakes Get Closer

October 10th, 2011

Hank & Cupcakes – Mercury Lounge – October 8, 2011

Cupcakes convincingly wrapped the bass-guitar strap around her neck, looked out to the audience and laughed before passing the guitar to her other half, Ariel Scherbacovsky, better known as Hank. A closer look revealed the left half of Hank’s face, back and torso painted in animalistic black and yellow spots. Offering bass rumble and synth for the band’s 11-song set, Cupcakes, clad in a white business suit, her short, bleached-blonde hair perfectly coifed, pounced onstage as a gender-blurring, Eurythmics-era Annie Lennox.

Fresh from recording their full-length debut at Berlin’s Hansa Studios, the Tel Aviv-by-way-of-Brooklyn bass-and-drum duo felt the New York City love and gave it back. The duo’s chemistry is unyielding. “Ready, naked boy?” asked Cupcakes of a shirtless Hank before her rap reviving some of Blondie’s “Rapture” toward the end of funk-pop groove of “Ain’t No Love.” Dancing, swirling and moving in front—and on top—of her drum kit, Cupcakes is full show-woman-ship.

Cupcakes removed her suit jacket to reveal a white button-up blouse and nothing much else beneath as she and Hank offered a tribute to guys named “Jimmy” (and there was one in the audience). A petite punk-rock Elvis, Cupcakes gyrated to every note of every song, including the pair’s cover of the 1979 Joy Division single “She’s Lost Control.” Finishing their most dance-y single, “Hit,” Cupcakes flung her drumstick in the air, put her suit jacket back on and moved center stage as if ready to bow for a job well done—but not before one more song. Hank & Cupcakes kissed. “Do it again,” said someone in the crowded room. “Do what again?” asked Cupcakes. “Kiss? We kiss all the time.” As if reiterating her “no” to the bellowed request, Cupcakes slammed down on the drums to one more song. —Tina Benitez

Photos courtesy of Patrick J. Eves |