Category Archives: live reviews

LOUD WOMEN album launch

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What a day, and what a night! Our LOUD WOMEN Volume One compilation album launch party was a massive success. Undeterred by a last-minute venue switch, 13 of our awesome CD contributors rocked the very awesome New River Studios, played to a (at times) full capacity crowd, and thoroughly launched what is looking set to be a hugely successful album.

Pre-sales and launch day sales of the album now mean that we just need to sell 4 more CDs to break even on the cost of manufacture, then after that all profits will be going to Women’s Aid!

If you missed out on the launch party, here’s a quick round-up of goings on …

Lilith Ai and her new band opened the show with a poppier new sound. It’s Lilith’s stunning vocals that still makes your ears prick up and your hair stand up, so we can’t wait to see her playing again solo on the bar stage at LOUD WOMEN Fest in September.

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Janine Booth gave a poetry set full of characteristic bite and warmth, opening with a brand new poem about the ‘Disaffected middle-aged woman’ which really hit home with this one! Janine is such an inspiration – travelling across London to give her time to our cause (for which she donated her fee to Women’s Aid), not complaining for a moment about her early slot in the line-up, and telling me moments before she went on stage that her boob was ‘still cooking’ from the course of radiotherapy she’d had that week. Massive love and solidarity with our shero Janine.

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Madame So played next, accompanied only by a drummer, giving a stunning and heartfelt performance. She then stuck around to enjoy the rest of the day’s music – an artist who knows the importance of supporting her fellow musicians. Awesome attitude.

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(Sorry Solange, I failed to get a photo of you – instead, here’s Bagel, the resident cat at New River Studios.)

Fightmilk joined us next, having stepped off another LOUD WOMEN stage only 16 hours previously! They’re always a joy to watch – they’re a rocking party and everyone’s invited. Top fun.

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GUTTFULL played next – my band! We were on great form, if I say so myself … our singer, Moe, is proving herself to be a total natural at the front of a stage. She left the audience  raised-up/chastened as appropriate, and also covered in ‘cum’ from her party cannon orgasm. Dead proud of my new band!

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The Tom Boys from Japan were a last-minute addition to the bill, as they happened to be over in the UK staying with friends of friends and were looking for a gig. What a treat! They gained a lot of new fans in London yesterday.

The Potentials hopped on next and, bouyed up by the Tom Boys’ awesomeness, decided to scrap their planned set list, and instead play all of their old favourites that they haven’t played for ages. They announced this as their “disaster set” … but it worked brilliantly!

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Nervous Twitch came all the way from Leeds, in the rain, with a dodgy windscreen wiper, to play a stonking set. I’m always blown away watching Erin playing bass and singing *so brilliantly*, such a hard thing to do and she makes it look easy.

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Little Fists played next, reminding us all why we love them so much. Alternating catchy tunes with fierce rock;  and alternating melodic vocals with visceral, well, shouting. They switch between instruments with ease (well, ease, apart from Soph falling off the drum stool a few times, but done so elegantly of course!)

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The Ethical Debating Society were introduced by Scene Queen Pearl Pelfrey, who rightly described them as her favourite London band. TEDS were on top form – possibly the best I’ve ever seen them play – and they debuted some very exciting brand new material.

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DOLLS joined us next with their storming pop-rock, catchy tunes, stunning vocals, infectious smiles, and perfect teeth. How are these two not playing stadiums yet? We’ll just make the most of getting to see them in small venues while we can because it seriously can’t be long before they go stratospheric.

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Argonaut were also on top form – playing as a full band for LOUD WOMEN for the first time in too long! Lorna wowed us with her powerful voice and tigger-like dance moves, and Abby won herself a LOUD WOMEN ‘multi-tasking’ badge by playing keyboard, guitar, singing, and shouting down a megaphone during their set. Top work.

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Gladiators Are You Ready? however, won the badge for most memorable live show. Jose and Ste entered wearing terrifying masks, and if that didn’t scare the shit out of us all enough, a bare-chested, kilted bagpiper entered from the far end of the hall, playing through the room and on to the stage, then piping in the entrance of ‘Vulvarine’, aka Hana, looking hot AF in an outfit that looked like she’d just rode in on some kind of winged fetish pony. She then produced a cape emblazoned with several pairs of pants, with letters on spelling out ‘TOO LOUD FOR TOOTING’. They could have just stopped at that, to be honest, they’d made their point. But they then played an awesome set of spectacular songs. Couldn’t really tell you what they’re about – between the masks, the bagpipes, and the corsetry, I was pleasantly distracted – but we all had a bloody good time dancing along to them. Must see these lovely mad bastards play again soon.

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Then Deux Furieuses played their headline set and showed us all how it’s really done – a stunning set by two women with awesome talent, energy, and passion for their music. They were the perfect end to a perfect day’s gigging.

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Special thanks too to the awesome Alice of the Glitter Girls, who came along to paint glittery shit all over our faces, in aid of refugee charities. Glitter makes everything better, even these beauts!

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International Women’s Day fun

by Cassie Fox

Our #IWD gig on Weds, co-hosted with Who Run The World, was SUCH a great night! Finally I get chance to sit down and say a few words about it, for those who couldn’t make it …

First of all, The Menstrual Cramps played their first gig, sounding as tight and confident as if they’d been playing together for years. They reminded me a lot of DREAM NAILS – heartfelt rage channelled through their music, and bloody catchy songs. Keep finding myself singing “Let My Bush Be Free” on the school run, oopsie.

mentrual cramps

Next up were our Buffycore BFFs The Potentials, who once again proved themselves to be DIY ‘scene not scenery’ to the max – they turned up early, brought a load of drum gizmos, and Zach also provided £££s worth of brand new DVDs he’d swiped from work. Then they played a blinding set! LOUD WOMEN hearts this band big time. Catch them again next weekend – LOUD WOMEN volume 1: album launch party

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The Baby Seals returned to play their second LOUD WOMEN gig, and reminded us all why, at their first LW gig, several members of the audience were debating forming a record label right there on the spot in order to sign them. These chicks rule – the songs are strong and dancey and perfectly executed, and the lyrics make you howl with laughter. I had such fun dancing at the front with loads of great babes around me yelling along “He’s going to cum on her FACE!” It was like the best woke hen party ever. Love those seals.

Personal highlight of my own evening, as ever, was getting to do the raffle for the first time in ages. Don’t know why I love that so much but I really do! There were some excellent DVD + chutney prize combos won by lots of happy campers, and we helped top up the donations to Women’s Aid 

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Best raffle ever!

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Then finally, megababes Charmpit played their first headline show, and kicked the ass out of it! Spandex bikini-clad, they got everyone dancing with their infectious energy and humour. Their message at the end of the set was perfectly aligned with LOUD WOMEN’s core ethos: making music is fun and powerful, and *you can do it too* Hurray for Charmpit!

We’re still counting up the total raised on the night, as gremlins/the patriarchy seem to have crept in to Beth’s systems, but so far there’s £186 raised for Women’s Aid! I’ll update the total once we know more from WRTW.

live review: Christine and the Queens, Brixton Academy, 3 Nov 2016 

by Jen Macro

This was an extra date added as the 2 Nov show sold out faster than an American applying for a Canadian visa after the US election. Initially I was only aware of Heloise Letissier’s alter ego Christine and the Queens in passing, as my boss had mentioned the name and, because it bore a resemblance to Marina and the Diamonds, I didn’t pay much attention. That was until I saw Letissier perform with her dancers on The Graham Norton Show, after which I scraped jaw off floor and tried to find out how I could see them live.  A Later with Jools Holland slot plus Glastonbury and Latitude performances meant the extra Brixton date sold out too, and on arrival, the 5000 capacity venue was heaving.

The great thing about Brixton Academy is the sloping floor, meaning short-arses like myself have a chance of positioning themselves where they can see (at least most of) the stage. The bad thing about Brixton Academy is the sloping floor, as after 2 hours standing in the same spot with your feet at a 45 degree angle, you can no longer feel your toes, and the lactic acid has built up so much I your calf muscles that you can barely walk come exit time. This aside, the gig was fantastic. The sparseness of the set (a sparingly used video screen and three black podiums) and simple black clothing of the performers gave it a very minimal and post-modern feel.

There were points when a row of fluorescent tube lights lower down over the stage and ripple and contort, it is futuristic whilst being all sorts of elegant. The music, mostly electronic rhythm section and sparse melodic instrumentation leaves lots of space for the lilting vocals to standout, mostly in English but sometimes in French. The energy is infectious throughout, even when Letissier performs solo, quiet and still, the intensity is other worldly. The whole show is a lesson in the effectiveness of keeping it simple.

There is a lot of talking to the audience in between songs, from encouraging us to just ‘be what we want to be’ for the next 90 minutes, to stories of being a tiny angry French person in her youth navigating gender stereotypes, to ‘finding’ Christine in Madame JoJos and calling for the venue to be reopened. Whilst recalling the origins of the track ‘Saint Claude’ she stops to explain that a heckler just asked her (in French) to take her clothes off, to which she responded ‘no, I’m in the middle of a story here!’

She is likeable. Humble. She puts on an absorbing and highly entertaining show, describing herself as a ‘broken Beyonce’, or ‘reject Rihanna’. She is already a big female artist, at points she reminds of a more self-effacing Madonna (with better tunes), or Kylie with more passion and less shiny things, and like them, she will most likely fill stadiums at some point. For now I was happy being in a large bubble with her and 4999 others as opposed to watching a tiny dot on the stage. I thought it was interesting however, that she, like fellow ‘strong woman in music’ PJ Harvey – who played two nights at Brixton Academy earlier that week, surrounded herself with male performers on stage.

lorna draws … rebellion festival


Day 1 – Thursday

I caught an early train and came straight from the station to catch Werecats at 2pm on the Introducing Stage. I play in The Pukes with Cil, and in Rabies Babies with Mike and it is beautiful to watch them in Werecats. Cil and Pip play off each other’s harmonies and inter-song chat, and they play fun and fantastic mid-80’s pop-punk with fuzzy guitars, smiles and fuck-you attitude, like in the days when pop-punk was great.

I spent most of the afternoon hanging around The Pukes’ merch stall, and went back to the Introducing Stage at 6.30pm for The Svetlanas, a tsunami of hair and hardcore, and at 8pm to catch The Tuts. If I was 18 and in a band then I would definitely want to be in The Tuts. They are energy, humour and fantastic pop punk tunes.

Day 2 – Friday

On a sunny day Blackpool is a beautiful place.
I had midday drinks with friends in the bar at the end of North Pier. The organist entertained us with seaside hits and 80 year old couples waltzed.
I wished that I could waltz.

At 1.20pm Maid Of Ace played the new Tower Street Arena open-air stage. They rocked tough and fast. I bought both their albums afterwards.

I got sunburn after a while, so I headed back to the Winter Gardens and caught a few bits of bands, had a couple of beers, and then went to hear Brix Smith being interviewed by John Robb on the Opera House stage. I learned that Brix Smith wrote one of my favourite Fall songs, Hotel Blodel, and she told entertaining stories of music-obsession, Manchester & ‘merica. She returned to the Opera stage a while later to perform an awesome set with her band. Their performance was my favourite of the festival. I LOVED every second of it. I felt the nostalgia of being a teenager in my bedroom listening to Perverted By Language, and loved the new songs they played.

Ramones tribute band Ramonas played the Empress Ballroom at the end of the night. This room is enormous with a sprung dance floor. Very few bands can get away with playing the Empress. The Ramonas OWNED the place. They were easily the most professional, tight and deadly band of the weekend. They didn’t pause for breath. They pretty much did ‘It’s Alive’, as the Ramones did it, but better. They are Ramones-plus. I am still in awe of the musicianship of these women.

Day 3 – Saturday

The day begun with The Pukes’ Blow the Roof Off Rebellion – Biggest Band of the Festival workshop. It was as fun as ever with around 30 people taking part. Two people during the festival told us that they had done our ‘Here’s 3 Chords Now Form A Band’ workshops in previous years and had gone on to form their own bands. Total Punk.

Favourites bands of the day were oi-pin-ups Hard Skin and fab M.D.C on the Pavillion Stage, and on the Introducing Stage, Shot! a multi-nationality London US-style hardcore band, and Amsterdam squat band Cracked Up.

Day 4 – Sunday

Highlight of the day was listening to Dave Dictor being interviewed and read from his book: MDC: Memoir From A Damaged Civilisation.
When asked about sexism/equality in the punk scene, Dave tells that on their current 40+ date European tour they have only come across one band with a woman in (Svetlana). I love Dave Dictor for noticing and caring.

I had a good wander around the Punk Art, and met new favourite printmaker/artist, Zoe Girl Shit. (check out her stuff – it rocks).

My Rebellion was cut short to catch the 8pm train home, but before I left I had a couple of anarcho treats on the Arena Stage. Anthrax UK followed by the best finale imaginable – Hagar The Womb. I love this band so much. They are funnier than Hard Skin, more punk than anyone, and were possibly the only band who were drinking chocolate vodka on stage.

 

Lorna Tiefholz plays in Rabies Babies and Mountain of Fire and Miracles,
and she draws and blogs at ‘Gigs and Pencils’

The A to Z of LOUD WOMEN FEST

 

The first ever LOUD WOMEN Fest was a ROARING success on 3 Sept. Bob Oram took some neatly organised notes.

Ambitious Twenty five acts across two stages in one day.
Beautiful The atmosphere, the bands, and the audience.
Creative Ingenious designs, merchandise and artwork on display
DIY Artists learning as they go along, circumnavigating the mainstream, independent and resourceful.
Exciting To just be part of this scene and to share the moment.
Glamorous 
Vintage dresses, colourful costumes, style and panache but no snobbery.
Helpful Raising money for good causes. 
Imaginative Vivid and visionary artists .
Jubilant A living celebration of feminism.
Kaleidoscopic The range, the quality and colour of the sounds made this an incredible cauldron of talent.
Luminous Intelligent lyric writers.
Memorable Moments and performances to treasure and cherish.
Non-stop Wall-to-wall sound, perfectly stage-managed.
Overlooked By all the traditional mainstream media.
Political Passionate, personal and some polemic.
Quintessential The essence of Riot Grrrl.
Resonant With true meaning.
Sparkling Incandescently bright.
Thunderous Applause.
Unisex Sharing toilets reflected the community spirit.
Venue Welcoming, friendly, affordable, serving great food and blessed with quality sound engineers.
Wired Adrenaline excitement.
Xenial Warmth to cherish. 
Yearly There just has to be another one.
Zestful Spirited enjoyment for twelve glorious hours.

[Ed. – wot no F-word?]