The Cliks (not to be confused with the Clicks, a three-woman punk outfit from Brooklyn) are a “queer-identified” (this from the band’s management) Toronto power-pop trio. They are fronted by a transgendered androgyne whose name was Lilia Silviera but who now goes by Lucas. The band’s lineup went through some early shakeups, but the Cliks stabilized and found critical success following the release of their debut CD Snakehouse. Fans included Ian Astbury (the Cult) and Cyndi Lauper, both of whom booked the Clicks to open their respective tours.
The Cliks are Silviera’s invention. He is the band’s main songwriter. Silviera may identify as a male, but his voice remains all-girl. Silviera is reminiscent of other androgynous rockers, but the act is weighted with a hard honesty that goes way beyond costumes. Silviera isn’t pretending. He has had a full mastectomy and is on to surgically crossing over all the way.
Silviera’s father is Portuguese and is said to have been an Elvis impersonator. In that there is a bit of the father-child handoff. Silviera too brings something of a studied Elvis swagger and snarl to the stage. The current lineup of the Cliks includes Morgan Doctor and Jen Benton. They are a flat-out rocking sweat-fest with two albums full of power chords and rock harmonies behind them that could easily fill up the big empty spaces of an arena. Consider a more harmonized, hook-filled Joan Jett/Pretenders sound — sexy, potent, energized in a hip-shake guitar-slamming way.
Snakehouse was all about breaking up; Dirty King, their latest, is an about-face, delving into the daily muck of living with a relationship. The band’s urgency and authenticity resonate with me — even though Silviera has refrained from taking hormones in order that he preserve his feminine vocal chords, when he sings “I’m not your boy,” I believe it.
New York Dolls headline.
CLIKS: Belly Up Tavern, Wednesday, May 20, 8 p.m. 858-481-8140. $20; $22 day of show.