A blissfully tired and wee-bit-emotional Sunday following what must be one of my very favourite LOUD WOMEN gigs of all time last night – our 4th birthday celebrations at the Hope & Anchor, with performances Hagar the Womb, Rabies Babies, The Menstrual Cramps, I, Doris, The Other Ones, and Smalltown Tigers. Pure punk rock mayhem, cake everywhere, clothes-swapping, crowd-surfing, all-grrl-mosh-pitting, wall to wall good vibes – we thoroughly birthdayed.
Hopefully someone will post some proper photos of the night, but in the meantime here’s my phone snaps!
Our lovely friend Tony Rounce was, of course, in attendance, and wrote this beautiful post about the evening that was too gorgeous not to share …
I’ve mentioned before that I believe we are living in a new Golden Age for live music.
Anyone doubting my word should have been at the Hope and Anchor last night for Loud Women’s 4th birthday party.
It was rammed to the roof, mind you, but you would have been most welcome and I’m sure a space would have opened up for you.
Five hours of fab bands from locations as far apart as Rimini and, er, Bristol.
Some of the best music you could have heard anywhere in the U.K. last night.
Some of the nicest people you could spend 5 hours in a room with.
All coming together to celebrate the fourth birthday of an impressive collective that exists to promote and further the cause of women/womxn/non-binary/LGBTQ+ in music.
In its four years Loud Women’s live profile has progressed from putting on small gigs in small rooms like the Hope to presenting probably the best and best organised one day annual festival on the planet – this year’s September event showcased 21 bands and singers in 10 hours across two adjacent venues in North London. LW has established itself internationally with overseas chapters across the globe, and has inspired many others across the U.K. to promote the regeneration and growth of a vibrant music scene.
My hat and my whole head is off to the indefatigable Cassie Fox for founding and maintaining the high profile of such a fantastic thing as LW. I am inordinately proud of my own very modest contributions to Team Loud Women as a writer and reviewer, and grateful for the opportunities to say nice things about nice people.
The ‘nice people’ on stage last night all brought plenty to the party, and I am delighted to have added The Other Ones and Italy’s Smalltown Tigers to the ever growing list of ‘bands I must see again in a hurry’. It’s a bit unfair to single anyone out for special commendation but the Menstrual Cramps – to my mind, one of the most important bands to have emerged in the last 40 years – were in unbeatable form (as they usually are, to be fair) and ignited an outbreak of pogoing the likes of which the Hope’s cellar probably hasn’t seen since the late 70s. My own pogoing days may be long gone, but I was there in spirit…
Props, too, to Rabies Babies, LW’s own delightful ‘in house’ combo I, Doris and a back from the dead but very much alive Hagar The Womb. They all did their bit to make the evening fun for one and all and it would have been that much less fun for the absence of any of them.
Oh, and I won the raffle. A couple of times! As sure as I’m a Doris I swear to you it wasn’t fixed…
These are great times to have catholic tastes in music. I’m glad that I still have the energy to be a part of what’s going on and, more importantly perhaps, to feel a part of it.
LW is doing God’s work and I am sure she’s totally impressed…
DIY collective Loud Women has been championing women in music since 2015 and on Saturday 12th October will be celebrating their 4th birthday with a gig at legendary Islington punk venue The Hope & Anchor with sets from Hagar The Womb, Rabies Babies, The Menstrual Cramps, I, Doris, The Other Ones, Mindframe and Smalltown Tigers.
We got in touch with LW’s Cassie Fox to talk about the upcoming anniversary and why, four years on we still need promoters like Loud Women on the DIY scene.
When did the idea of Loud Women first arise and why? Was there a particular incident that sparked it?It started as a one-off gig in 2015. Having played on the gig circuit for a little while, I was feeling frustrated at the amount of ‘man-band’heavy’ lineups all the time, and macho crowds. I was particularly tired of my all-female band always being the token women on the bill, and wanted to put on a fundraising gig with my friends’ bands that could be relaxed and inclusive and fun … so I did! Since then, a whole heap of media activity and community has organically grown around the events, but that ethos is still at the heart of what we do – putting on events full of awesome music and a no-bullshit atmosphere with womxn and non-binary people at the heart.Have you noticed any change in the representation and treatment of female musicians in the four years since LW began?On a small scale, yes – a bit! Certainly in the cosy bubble of the London gig circuit there seem to be loads of new opportunities for “bands who are not cis het white dudes” to play, with seemingly new promoters springing up every day, which is brilliant. Outside of London though, I’m still often told by touring bands playing LW gigs that it’s the first time in ages that they’ve not been the only women on a lineup. And outside of DIY music… there’s plenty of conversations being had about major festivals supporting female artists, but still very little noticeable difference in the gender balance on bigger stages.Can you take us back to the very first Loud Women gig? Who played and what was it like?It was 3rd October 2015 at the (sadly now closed) Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park. The headliners were Blindness (featuring our awesome friend Debbie Smith), with my then-band The Wimmins’ Institute, Argonaut, and Dream Nails. I didn’t know what to expect, and feared we’d be playing to an empty room … but was delighted to find the room full for the first band, Dream Nails, who were playing their first ever gig and had brought all their friends! It was the first time I’d been at a gig with a majority-female crowd – and oh the luxury of being 5’3″ and able to actually see the stage! There was a really fun atmosphere, and we raised a decent amount of money for Women’s Aid too. So it was a no-brainer to keep the momentum going and put on more gigs … and here we are!There have been hundreds of bands playing countless Loud Women shows over the past four years, are there any nights that particularly stick in your memory?The Little LOUD WOMEN gigs we’ve done for families have been by far my favourite! I’m a mum of two, and also a big kid myself, so I love any excuse to get extra glittery, get the balloons out, and start a little toddler moshpit! I loved seeing the kids enjoying music up close, invading the stage, seeing what the instruments feel like, and what their voices sound like down a microphone. And parents really appreciated getting to see ‘proper music’ without having to pay out for a babysitter. At one gig there was a particularly humbling moment when a little girl of about 9 grabbed the mic and gave an impromtu speech about how important it was for everyone to be included – I can’t wait to see if she reappears fronting a punk band in a few years!Aside from the gigs, what else has Loud Women been involved in?Our music blog loudwomen.org and monthly ezine have really taken off in the last few years, I’m really proud of those – we have a lot of contributors, so a lot of different voices and opinions and experiences, and they really help spread the word to audiences and influencers. We’ve also released compilation records – the latest of course being LOUD WOMEN Volume Two! Between the two albums there’s over 40 different bands – all killer – £5 each to you! loudwomen.bandcamp.com
With four years under your belts, what does LW have in store for the future? More of the same I guess, until there’s no need for LOUD WOMEN any more! Keep an eye on the LOUD WOMEN socials for news of exciting 2020 events …Loud Women’s 4th Birthday Party takes place on Saturday 12th October at The Hope & Anchor. More information and tickets, priced £8 + booking fee, can be found here.Check out Cassie’s Loud Women playlist featuring 49 artists who’ve played LW shows over the past four years:
The Other Ones are far from Other – they are the Ones. I’m One too. These Ones, us, have the cat worship, the interview paralysis (…until the last minute – ‘Punctual’, Francis calls it), the gig tomorrow I think, the next gig I can’t remember where, and the social ability of Other with really makes them the Ones. The music is pretty great too.
The band themselves consist of Steph, who is once, twice, three times a fantastic lead singer; Vicky and Nick on bass and guitar and lead cat duties (name: Socks, check him out on insta) and Francis; drummer, politely sarcastic at all times.
Hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did, and I’ll see you at one of their shows soon (once we remember when, and where they are).
Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?
Vicky: Marina (Marina and the Diamonds). She’s an incredible musician and she puts so much passion and heart into everything she does.
Steph:Lana Del Ray, I think that would be interesting to hear. Or Kate Nash!
Nick: This might sound really weird, but I am gonna say ABBA. I know that sounds bizarre, but it makes total sense in my head!
If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?
Vicky: For stage presence – Ron Mael and his death stare. Bez for dancing!
Francis:Frank Sidebottom on banjo
Nick:Little Richard – he played some pretty punky piano and wore big pink suits. He would fit right in!
What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out?
Vicky: Last full song was Sticker – the idea came from the amount of sexist, patronising comments Steph and I get at every gig. It’s SO close to being finished and we can’t wait to get it in our set.
Steph: We’re in the works with a song called Sticker which is from the girls (Vicky & Steph) point of view of how shitty things can still be as a female musician. A lot of people assume we aren’t in the band, even with a guitar on our backs! They assume we are just girlfriends or fans. It goes as far as being thrown out of a greenroom as a bouncer didn’t believe we were in one of the bands. It’s amazing how shit like this still happens, but it does, so we wrote a song about it. Lots of anger in it and should be a cracker!
Francis: A song called Midnight Swims and a-Cocktails, about midnight swims and a-Cocktails. Basically just about my life ethos
Nick: I am forever writing songs, so I can’t remember the last one! The last good one was called “On Top Of Me”, and we’ve just added it to our set. I got the idea for the chorus while I was out for a walk, and I had to wait a few hours to get a guitar and actually work it out. It was inspired by one of us having some real struggles with our mental health at the same time as one of our friends. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, so it’s very cathartic for us to play.
Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched?
Vicky: My most recent favourite gig we’ve played was at The Fiddlers Elbow; we had a great night with amazing bands, Nick only broke two strings and we did a very impromptu Tay Swift performance!
b) Bikini Kill because it was like nothing else. You could feel the entire arena fill with female energy from the word go.
Steph: The last gig we played at the Fiddlers Elbow! Was a great vibe with some great bands (Spit Sisters & Lambrini Girls) – it’s the first time we’ve ever had an encore! It was pretty amazing to have people singing back the words to your songs! And watched… probably all the emo bands I used to go and see and have the absolute time of my life!
Francis: a) I used to enjoy mime playing trumpet in a school orchestra. Easiest gig ever. b) The Tubes at Clapham grand a few years ago – still killing it in their 60s
Nick: Our last gig at The Fiddlers Elbow was a banger, hearing the audience singing our lyrics back to us was an incredible feeling. I’ve seen so many great gigs, but I think one of the most memorable was seeing Paws Supported by The Spook School a few years ago.
Recommend a record that you think our readers might not have heard of.
Vicky: I really want to put Spirit in the Sky by Keiino because ITS SO HAPPY but Nick might disown me…! So, Bats in the Attic – King Creosote and Jon Hopkins. Why? It’s beautiful and it’s not just haunting the song sounds HAUNTED. It’s one of those songs that forces your brain to stop and just breathe. 100% brain scooper song.
Steph: Dating In Old People’s Homes – Arthur in Colour. Such a cute song about finding love in an old people’s home, well kinda cute. Francis: Moodswings by Harem Scarem. Would have been huge had it been released a decade earlier. Pure 80s hair rock Nick: Under Branch and Thorn and Tree by Samantha Crain, or her 2017 album, You Had Me At Goodbye. She’s just an incredible songwriter, one of the very best around I think.
What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians?
Vicky: Try. Try. Try. Even if you end up playing to the sound engineer and a random punter – YOU ARE OUT THERE DOING YOUR SHIT AND YOU DON’T KNOW IF YOU DON’T TRY
Steph: Don’t be scared to just go for it.
Francis: No matter how much you owe in student loans or credit card debt, and no matter how low your salary may seem, it’s wise to find some amount – any amount – of money in your budget to save in an emergency fund every month.
Nick: Follow your passion and be absolutely relentless. Don’t ever stop. Also, don’t listen to people on guitar forums. You don’t need £300 drive pedal.
Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go.
Vicky: Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman, The Smiths – The Smiths, Funeral – Arcade Fire
Steph:Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge – My Chemical Romance The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie, Hounds of Love – Kate BushFrancis:The Tubes – Remote Control, Roddy Frame – Surf, Propagandhi – Supporting Caste Nick:Hatful Of Hollow – The Smiths, Raw Power – Iggy and The Stooges, Dusty in Memphis – Dusty Springfield
What are your musical goals?
Vicky: Coherently play the Holiday in Cambodia and December 1963 on the bass. Oh and also be a rock and roll Queen. No seriously, if one kid said to me a song I’d written made a difference to their lives, that would be the ultimate dream.
Steph: To make an impact, to have people take something from our songs. Music has always played a huge part in my life, being able to scream and shout about stuff along to a song knowing that you’re not alone. It’s always made me feel a part of something.
Francis: To not embarrass myself too much or spend too much money on gear!
Nick: I want to be a better songwriter, particularly with lyrics. But what I really want is for our songs to connect with people, the way my favourite songs connect with me.
What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now? Vicky: We put on a kick ass show and are not afraid to look like total tubes on stage – we just want you to come have fun with us!
Steph: That we put on a damn good show (if we do say so ourselves). Come see us live for loud noise, shit banter, cheese jokes and back bends. We like to make sure people have a good time.
Francis: We are pretty good to listen to and quite nice company, we are always very punctual to gigs and in our private lives.
Nick: We are loads of fun live! Honestly, I think we’re pretty fun musically too. We’re not just a straight ahead, thrash and power-chord punk band (well, sometimes). Our EP we’re about to release may surprise some people, that’s all I’m saying!
Give your top 5 contemporary bands/musicians (and say why)
Vicky:Samantha Crain – she is so under appreciated but magnetic, and her guitar playing it out of this world. Charli XCX – GODDESS. Literally anything she does sounds like its been dropped from another planet and it’s incredible. Marina – Because everything she touches is golden and she truly engages with her fans. Panic Pocket – cos they’re the most cynical sarcastic bedroom babes you’ll ever meet. The Cribs – the guitars, the riffs, the songs. Everything. Will never forget singing my lungs out to Be Safe during the Men Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever tour. Steph: Panic Pocket – what’s not to love about them? Melodic and funny, absolutely love going to see them live over and over again.
Nick:St Vincent – She’s such a great guitar player, and she knows how to make some NOISE. Paws – A Scottish punk band that were a big inspiration for Vic and I kicking this band off. Panic Pocket – AKA The Best Band In The World. If I could write songs half as good as these guys I would be so happy! Also, they are lovely people with a lovely cat. Self Help – These guys have really perfect the concept of noise-pop, and they are brilliant live. Go and see them! Charli XCX – Sorry Vic, gonna copy you! I LOVE Pop music, and I feel like Charli XCX is the best pop star. Her stuff is crammed full of catchy hooks, but still remains deeply weird, and I feel that is so hard to pull off. Francis: Jai Paul, Roddy Frame, Mitski, Propagandhi, Richard Dawson (Nick adds: “Here are my policies, I won’t say why. Franny for PM.”)