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The Gossip rocks Bottom of the Hill

The fans were sweaty and sliding on spilt beer, body-to-body with complete strangers, oblivious to bad breath and the stench of cigarettes.

It was just another Saturday night at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, as fans came in droves to see the Gossip.

"This is the last show in our North American tour, so we better make it good," said vocalist Beth Ditto. The band left for the European leg of their tour on Oct. 25.

As the growing throng of dancing bodies would attest to, it was.

Since I last saw the Gossip, a few things have changed. Hannah Blilie, the band's drummer was a recent addition and Brace Paine, the guitarist was sporting a mustache. Yet when Ditto, stood center stage, adjusted her dress, and asked the audience if her breasts were showing, I knew that the Gossip were relatively unchanged. Ditto is a habitual clothes-shedder.

The tour is in promotion of their second full-length album Movement, which was released two years ago. They recently recorded a new album, Standing in the Way of Control, set to be released Jan. 11.

Ditto described the new album as being, "More grown-up."

The band also treated the crowd to a few unreleased songs. "Listen up" and "fire sign" are available for download through their Web site.

Fans were particularly responsive when the band played old favorites, like "Yesterday's News." The Gossip's sound resonated and shook the walls, inspiring the fans to sing along with Ditto and dance with vigor.

We are Wolves, an opening act from Montreal, dedicated a song to the Gossip. "They won't understand our lyrics, so they will have to make them up," said vocalist and guitarist Alexander Ortiz. We are Wolves performed almost entirely in French.

We are Wolves was a great band to open for the Gossip. The energy of their set warmed the audience up for the next band and carried through the language barrier.

After almost every song, the vocalist would say "merci" to the audience. It didn't seem to matter that the audience didn't understand most of the group's lyrics. Strong beats carried the set through.

As the night wore on and the audience at the foot of the stage became more saturated with sweat, fans shouted requests. "Swing low" was mentioned a few times.

As Ditto pointed the microphone at the audience, they responded en masse, singing every key. While the fans had no problem remembering the lyrics, they couldn't measure up against Ditto's throaty vocals. For more information on the Gossip visit their Web site at