In the past, Divinyls singer Christina Amphlett's singing and personality would switch unpredictably between coy, hiccupping little girl and raspy Voice of Experience. When the Australian band played at the Roxy on Tuesday, Amphlett showed only the latter side--but for much of the 75-minute show that was enough.
Give her a good tan and a palm-tree hair-do and Amphlett could have been Tina Turner as she poutingly sashayed in a black mini-dress with a black feather boa draped over decolletage worthy of Elvira. As the singer alternately strutted and shot accusing glances at the tightly packed audience, it was the old sex-is-danger equation brought to life.
That dark tone was emphasized on the best numbers by the rowdy, aggressive rock of the five-piece band, culminating halfway through the set with the psychodrama that accompanied "Elsie," a tale of a boozy, lonely woman at rock bottom. During the song Amphlett dispassionately but insistently demanded tokens of appreciation from audience members, finally wresting an expensive-looking leather jacket from one resistant fan.
After that, though, the persona seemed played out and the performance grew a bit flat as it became clear that this was the only side of Amphlett that would emerge Tuesday. And though there were brief glimpses of other facets during a perfunctory encore of "Hey Little Boy" (a reworking of the Syndicate of Sound's old "Hey Little Girl" that's a highlight of the Divinyls' frequently rousing new "Temperamental" LP), the audience was left asking, "Where was the rest of Christina?"