HAVE you ever heard of alternative cabaret? Well, if you are a fan then The Tiger Lillies could be the perfect band for you.

They are currently touring with their new album, The Devils Fairground, to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

Formed in 1989 by singer-songwriter Martyn Jacques, The Tiger Lillies have performed all over the world collaborating with circus performers, Shakespearean actors experimental dancers, avant-garde photographers, burlesque puppeteers and classical music ensembles.

They won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for their West End musical Shockheaded Peter.

They are well-known for their unique sound and style with a savage edge of punk, which has led them to be called the forefathers of Brechtian Punk Cabaret.

The current line-up are Martyn Jacques, Jonas Golland on drums and Adrian Stout on bass.

Somerset County Gazette:

Martyn said: “We are touring a live version of the Devil’s Fairground album we recorded in Prague with an orchestra and it’s about the time we spent there in the early 90s, which was before the arrival of capitalism and after the revolution.

“The Communists had gone and the capitalists hadn’t really arrived so there were a few years in between. We spent quite a lot of time there playing in bars and squats and at parties. It’s about the people we met during what was a kind of crazy, hedonistic time.

“There was a lot of alcoholism back then and there are a couple of songs about drinking and the toll it takes.

“A lot of the people I’m singing about are dead now because they didn’t really have any borders and they’d drink themselves into oblivion and take drugs.

“It’s quite anti-drugs and anti-alcohol in a way because they do kill people.”

The Tiger Lillies began 30 years ago this year and was a band inspired by The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, along with some Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf and gypsy music as well.

Martyn believes that it is the duty of artists to provoke as well as entertain and he admitted that he has succeeded in provoking many fans over the years.

He said: “I never cease to be amazed by the egotism and arrogance of people on Facebook and the fact they don’t seem to understand the concept of irony. There’s a large group of people out there for whom their irony detector just does not work.

“I’ve also had people walking out of shows and throwing things at me.

“They don’t get the concept of irony so if you say something they actually think you mean it.

“They don’t think you could be doing parody or are trying to point out the absurdity of something, they just take it at face value and they’re very arrogant, very rude and very unpleasant.”

Somerset County Gazette:

The Tiger Lillies have performed in venues all over the world from the Opera Comique in Paris to a tiny bar in Prague called The Shot Out Eye.

Martyn said: “We’ve played some amazing venues and some of the concerts we’ve done have been stunning.

“We did an album a few years ago called The Ballad Of Sexual Dependency in collaboration with Nan Goldin, who is one of the most famous photographers in the world.

“We performed it in Arles in France in this beautiful amphitheatre. That was amazing - playing under the stars for 3,000 people.

“That was one of our most memorable shows and the album is also one of my favourite pieces of music that I’ve written.

“We’ve been all over the world, playing in Mexico, China, Australia, South America - everywhere. We’ve had an amazing career.”

Thirty years later and The Tiger Lillies are coming to Somerset this weekend.

Martyn said: “I’m one of those people who doesn’t care about birthdays but 30 years does feel like an achievement.

“Time is very much a human construct but I guess being an artist for a long time is something to be proud of, as is living a long life.”

The Tiger Lillies are performing at The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton on June 22 and at Komedia in Bath on June 23.

To find out more about the Taunton show visit www.thebrewhouse.net or call 01823 283 244.

To find out more about the Bath show visit www.komedia.co.uk or call 01225 489070.