And here we unveil a whole new feature idea for the blog: a list of noteworthy links to check out, should your interests run that way. If you’ve read any interesting music blogs/articles/ etc and want to post them in the comments, I’d love to check them out! Keep in mind that applies to music related writings you may have written, oh great internet-music-blogging-atmosphere.
- SXSW–love it or hate it–is a big deal in the music world. For some smaller bands, playing SXSW means they’re on the verge to being “discovered” by the larger music population. But does it always? And given the increasing role sponsorships and big companies are playing, how much of this once heralded festival is truly about the music? Andrea Swensson, a music reporter at Minnesota Public Radio and a long time SXSW attendee shares her thoughts. Why I’m Not Going to SXSW This Year
- SXSW by the music! The great thing about this little thing we call the internet is that you don’t have to go to SXSW to experience new music, especially when the staff at NPR are so good about putting together music lists. If you’ve got some time to kill and want to check out who’s playing in Austin, check out this excellent and exhaustive list. The Austin 100. Oh, and if you’re not the biggest music geek in the world, you might not know this, but the staff at NPR’s All Songs Considered do a GREAT job with daily recaps. So if you want to live SXSW vicariously, subscribe to the NPR ASC podcast asap.
- If you’re a music person, then chances are you’ve already heard this bit of news. The ambassador for Record Store Day 2013 (April 20!) has been chosen and is none other than Jack White. Given his love of records and all the great work he’s been doing with Third Man Records, he is unquestionably the PERFECT fit. Add his incredible love for records and we have to ask ourselves, was there really any other candidate? Anyway-he issued a fantastic statement which everyone should add to their reading list. Whether you totally 100% agree or think he’s full of it, it brings up some good thoughts.
“As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves. ” Read the rest of his statement HERE.
- Speaking of Third Man Records, have you heard that Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) is about to be the latest artist on Third Man Record to make a 7-inch with the label? She and Ruby Amanfu will be doing reinterpretations of Rodriguez’s “I Wonder” and Memphis Minnie’s “When My Man Comes Home”. Read a bit more here.
- Ok–final mention of SXSW in this entry, I promise. I’m sure you’ve heard whispers about a documentary that’s all about Kathleen Hanna and her work? Maybe you even helped fund it during their kickstarter campaign? Well, this SXSW the film (by Sini Anderson and Tamra Davis), The Punk Singer premiers. March 10. If you can make it to SXSW and somehow crash that movie, you’ll have to let me know how it is. ’till then, I’ll have to wait until I can finally check it out. (SOOOOO EXCITING!!!! OMG!!!) Kathleen Hanna posted about it on her blog, and a small excerpt (and then you can go read the rest of it HERE): “It has been really fun watching old footage of Bikini Kill , as that’s something I’ve never done before. I have now officially realized why we seemed so fucking nuts to people, and I say that with an absolute beaming pride. I can’t believe any of my bandmates took such a leap of faith and let me play music with them.”
- Kate Nash’s new Album, “Girl Talk” came out this Tuesday! Have you bought it? Listened to it? what are your thoughts?
What have you been reading? What new albums have you bought? What’s making you happy this week! Talk about it in the comments! Cheers!
Okay. It’s not the future really. I’m mostly referring to the fact that I haven’t written here since…well….last year! And that’s a bit tragic. There was a time where my posts to this blog were frequent, and that has obviously not been the case lately.
I think right now would be a good time to do a recap of why this blog exists, and the purpose behind it.
When I began this blog, it was primarily as a venue for me to write about the things that interested me, which happen to be topics like feminism, music, lgbtq issues, pop culture, and so on. And as time went on, I found myself separated from the college community that helped encourage my thoughts on these various topics. And thus my postings became sporadic, at best. There have been a few posts here and there about the artistic community here in Salt Lake, various other poets worth noting, and a whole slew of posts about my ridiculously awesome open mic, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution, but other than that, the blog’s been pretty dead.
I’d like to change that. Because here’s the thing: this blog is a chance for me to express myself. And as shy and quiet as I can be, I LOVE EXPRESSING MYSELF. I love sharing my passions, I love sharing the music I discover, and most of all, I love having conversations with people about music, feminism, pop culture and other forms of activism.
So I would like to make this year the year this blog is reborn into a source of interesting material. I know I have had similar thoughts and have even made similar statements on this blog, but I’d like to make this one stick. And since there’s no time like the present to start, I’m going to share my playlist of the music I’ve been listening to. Because let’s face it, it’s been a long time since I’ve talked music here. And music has been the primary factor in this blog’s existence. So with no further ado, here’s some music for your listening pleasure.
It’s no secret the banjo has been making its way back into popular music. It seems like everywhere you look bands like the Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers are making folk accessible and fun. And while I enjoy these bands, I’ve discovered two bands who are some of my favorite indie/folk artists. And they’re worth sharing.
1) Black Prairie: “How Do You Ruin Me?”
If you’re familiar with the Decemberists, then you’ll probably know a good chunk of the players in this band. Chris Funk (dobro), Nate Query (bass), Jenny Conlee (accordion) and John Moen (drums) are all well known thanks to their work with The Decemberists, and with Black Prairie they’re creating some very new and interesting music. Other band members include guitarist Jon Neufeld and singer/violinist Annalisa Tornfelt. I discovered the band through the single, “How Do You Ruin Me,” and immediately fell in love with the haunting nature of the song, and Annalisa’s vocals. The song was from the band’s then forthcoming album, A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart, and at the time the only album I could find was their 2010 release, Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. That album only solidified my love for the band. It’s an album full of musical adventures and landscapes reminiscent of scenes as diverse as open prairies and Parisian cafes. What fascinated me most, personally, about that album in particular was its mix of songs that were purely instrumental and songs with vocals, and my ability to connect with every single song, with or without vocals. It’s definitely an album worth checking out, as is their 2012 release, A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart
2) The Shook Twins: “Window”
The Shook Twins are hard to resist. They blend folk with catchy, fun songs, adding a touch of quirk here and a dose of seriousness there. In addition to that, their instrumentation isn’t exactly what one would call typical of a folk band. I mean–how many folk bands do you know that include the art of beatboxing? Add to that the telephone microphone and you’ve got some intriguing elements added to an already intriguing band. The Shook Twins, as their name suggests, is made up of twin sisters Katelyn and Laurie Shook and the core quartet is completed with Kyle Volkman and Niko Daoussis. They were easily one of my favorite discoveries of 2012, thanks to songs like “Window”, “Pink and Purple”, and “Time to Swim” and “Way to Wake.” Really, their 2011 release, Window, has very few songs that aren’t worth listening to, and is a brilliant album from the beginning to end.
3/4) Album Pick: Dirty Water: The Birth of Punk Attitude.”
Music genres are like people. We love putting them into boxes. When someone starts talking about punk, it’s practically impossible not to think of the late 70s and tight jeans, ripped clothing, paperclips, and “fuck the system” attitudes. But let’s face it–the elements that we now consider punk had to come from somewhere. Art and society and culture and history are all intertwined, and all of them influence and inform each other. To say this compilation is worth having is an understatement. If you are interested in punk, if you are interested in music, this 2-disc album put together by Kris Needs is a MUST HAVE. It’s an album that as soon as I have sufficient funds plan on buying. In addition to representing a wide spectrum of music that helped influence punk (and Dirty Water 2 goes even father, including artists such as Bo Diddley and Dizzy Gillespie), Needs also took the time to write the liner notes which serve as a primer to why the songs were included and their histories. The songs I’m including in this blog posts are two of my absolute favorites. I couldn’t actually tell you how many times I listened to the Deviants track, but I can tell you it was a lot. Partly because it’s almost an exact definition of the image of punk.
Last Poets: “Subway”
The Deviants: “Garbage”
5. My Brightest Diamond “We Added it up”
From the very first notes of the song “We Added it Up”, I knew I would enjoy My Brightest Diamond’s 2011 release, All Things Will Unwind. And indeed, I loved every moment. From the cheerful, optimistic to the more dramatic turns, to the quietly beautiful moments, every song felt perfectly placed. There’s not much that I can say about Shara Warden that hasn’t already said before, so if you’re not familiar with the music of Shara and her project, My Brightest Diamond, I suggest you fix that now.
Sometime last year I checked out Regina Spektor’s Live in London album from The Salt Lake City Public Library. If you’re familiar with the album, you know that the album also came with a live dvd. I made sure that I watched it before I had to turn it back in, which was wonderful, and ended up being the reason I fell in love with Regina Spektor all over again.
Not a week goes by that at least one of her songs does not grace my ears. And the funny thing is, it wasn’t any of the super familiar songs that had me falling head over heels once again. It was not “Samson”, it was not “On the Radio,” or “Apres Moi.”
It was a song that she performed without accompaniment and truly showcased not only her quirk, but her knack for making something quirky into something more, something…deeper.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of being acquainted with this song, I shall help fix that for you right now. Enjoy.
Now that August is upon us, I can finally start to look forward to my favorite music festival–The Women’s Redrock Music Festival. You might remember me gushing about the festival in earlier entries. It’s an incredible weekend full of beautiful Utah scenery, red rocks, blue skies and that good ol’ soul energizing thing called music. It’s an experience that just cannot be forgotten. It’s the thing you come back from on Sunday/Monday and then rave about to anyone who will listen. It’s the kind of experience that leaves a mark.
This year is gonna be a good year. Every band/musician on the roster is unbelievably talented, each with their own way of approaching music, of creating art and performing. For a detailed list of who’s playing–visit the Official Women’s Redrock Music Festival page, and be sure to buy your tix while you’re there!
This blog series will highlight individual bands/musicians and we’re going to start off with the Friday Headliner, Raining Jane.
If you’re looking for a band that can mix amazing music with a dedication to their community and a truly independent spirit, then Raining Jane is absolutely the band for you. RJ has been around since forming in the UCLA music scene in 1999. The band is made up of Mai Bloomfield (cello, guitar, vocals), Chaska Potter (guitar, vocals), Mona Tavacoli (drums, vocals, percussion) and Becky Gebhart (bass, guitar, sitar). This is a band that doesn’t fit well within the confines of genres. They are independent, yes, acoustic, yes, but they are so much more. A basic youtube search will introduce you to their cover of Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield”-which is an incredibly haunting cover of the song- and to their track “Browntown” which is an instrumental featuring the sitar.
The band has toured extensively and worked with artists like Sarah Bareilles and Jason Mraz. In fact, they co-wrote the song “A Beautiful Mess” which was featured on his platinum album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The band has released three full albums and an EP and when they’re not focusing on touring or recording albums, they make sure they give back to their community.
In 2010, Raining Jane helped establish the Rock’n’ Roll Camp for Girls: Los Angeles. I may be a little biased here, but I think that’s awesome. It’s one thing as an artist, to be good at what you do. It’s another thing entirely to take your love for that craft and share it, make a community out of it, and–in this case–give girls an opportunity to pick up an instrument and go from making noise to making music.
I’m going to leave the text off here and let you, dear reader, see what all the hype is about. Turn off whatever you’re listening to for a moment–just a few songs, at least, and give Raining Jane a listen. This is a band worth listening to. And if you’re loving what you’re hearing, be sure to visit their website for a full listen to their 2011 album The Good Match and to buy their music!
I love the cello in this. And the percussion. This is definitely a song that inspires reflection and meditation.
This is the kinda song that makes me go into “HELL YES! THIS IS WHAT MUSIC SHOULD BE” mode. It’s amazing.
This may well be one of the most haunting covers I’ve ever heard of this particular song. With the cello and the vocals, the song has totally been recast in a very different light.
lesson from Jason Mraz right here: You should be so lucky to have Raining Jane as your band! Just sayin’!
And finally…just because we’ve gotta go out on an upbeat happy note:
Raining Jane will be taking the stage at Women’s Redrock Music Festival August 10, at 9:30 pm. For more details on event/location/other bands, please visit the official Women’s Redrock Music Festival page.
It’s practically June! You know what that means….summer at its peak, an emphasis on camping, swimming in community pools or–if you’re in the right places in the country–lakes or oceans–, getting that sexy tan and enjoying late night bonfires.
……and writing 50,000 words in a month, no holds barred, kill that inner editor good-n-dead.
Wait!–50,000 words? That sounds like we’re talking NaNoWriMo. But doesn’t that happen in November?
Why yes, it does. But it also happens in the summer as part of Camp NaNoWrimo (June and August) because one month alone….it’s just not enough.
When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will be hosting nanowrimo-themed events and write-ins throughout the month. Everyone’s encouraged to participate and if you’re interested and live in Salt Lake, please join the WSSIHtR facebook group for updates as they happen. Also every Thursday night in June we’ll meet up at Coffee Break (430 E 400 S) which is just off the trax line so it’s pretty easy to access. Just look for the crazy writer types stuck at their laptops and taking breaks only for the caffeinated beverage next to them. We’ll be meeting from 7-11 and writers are encouraged to come and go as they need, but I do ask–that on the off chance that no one shows up and you’re planning on showing up at 9:30/10:oo…..let me know. Email me at rebelgrrrl.theblog at gmail.com if you are seeing that as a concern and need my info.
These write-ins will be totally informal. Bring your laptops or notebooks. Expect to do nothing but write. With the occasional conversation. And the occasional dare or even word sprint. (I’ve never really done one but people seem to like them?)
Keep an eye out for more information as it becomes available and for those participating in the June Camp NaNoWriMo–GOOD LUCK!! NaNoWriMo is always a challenge, and sometimes your dedication results in that 50k victory and sometimes life drags you down and breaks your arm in order to keep you from writing. But fear not. The most important thing about NaNoWriMo is having FUN, so flex your wrists, dust off those cobwebs taking up residence in your imagination, and get ready to run the 50k word marathon to the finish.
May has been a month of extreme growth and development, for both myself personally and for When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic. Huge, Wonderful, Incredible changes. 2012 will be a year I remember for a long time (and the year’s not even over!)
First of all: in the spirit of taking risks, embracing the punk aesthetic that I love so much (yet find myself terrified to fully embrace), and celebrating 2 years of When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution as an open mic–I dyed my hair pink. Let me repeat that one more time, in case you are skimming over and missed that previous line. I DYED MY HAIR PINK. Not pastel pink. No light or subtle colors for me. This is the first time I’ve ever dyed my hair like this, and there is no halfway point on this. As soon as I promised myself that THIS was the month that it would happen, I knew that the only way to do this would be as bright and bold as possible. and voila. The whole process was made exceptionally easy thanks to a friend of mine who generously agreed to help me make this the best experience ever. She did such a great job! The success of this is so much a part of her excellent abilities, and you’ll have to excuse me, but she is amazing. Her name, if you’re curious, is Tami Porter-Jones and she’s a pretty fabulous writer, and her first book is out and available on amazon. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, of stories with characters who draw you in, and great writing, then you should for sure check out her book, which is available on amazon or right here. Do yourself a favor and get in on the action.
So yeah. My hair is now bright pink. And I’m loving every second of it.
This month has also made me acutely aware of how important starting the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic/community was. It’s been an incredible two years, full of a lot of wondering “am I doing the right thing?” and “is this going to last/be worth it?” The answer was always pretty obvious, but here, two years later, the answer is unquestionable. YES. It was. And it’s an amazing community of writers/performers and I’m so grateful to see how it’s grown and developed, with such an amazing group of core supporters and new people at the same time. There is DEFINITELY a reason this little open mic with a huge spirit won City Weekly’s Best Poetry Open Mic in 2012.
A little food for thought, should anyone outside of Salt Lake read this post/about the awesome that is WSSIHtR: Don’t spend your time wishing that something like this existed in your area. Seriously. All it takes is the guts to start your own revolution. You say you want a space dedicated to creative women writers and musicians? Make it happen. Talk to your friends. Talk to venues around your town. Coffee shops, bookstores, libraries–find somewhere! And the best part about organizing an open mic that people don’t really tell you (especially when you’re *just* starting out) is how freakin’ easy it is. Bring the passion. Bring the support. Advertise as much as you can over facebook. Invite everyone you meet. Post fliers everywhere. And most of all: BE THERE. Be ready for nights that ROCK, where the talent is so dynamic and contagious that you’re freewriting poetic verse by the end of the night even though you’ve never been a poet. Be ready for the nights where it is your small core group sharing stuff in a supportive environment, testing out new/old material among friends. Be prepared for these and everything in between. Most of all–be persistent. In creating a community like this, it’s you who has the role of the fearless leader. Without you this wouldn’t exist. Don’t give into your fears. Embrace that inner pit bull, grab the bone and GO.
They say that you are your own worst enemy. What they don’t say ENOUGH is the more important message that the movie Whip It conveys.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN HERO.
It’s up to you to create, to bring people together, to make a scene, to start your own damn revolution….so what are you waiting for?
This message is absolutely something I’ve learned over the trials and successes of running the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic, and if you are interested in more information, in starting your own variation on the theme, please feel free to let me know, either in the comments or an email at rebelgrrrl.theblog at gmail.com
Final thought for this post: having a project like WSSIHtR has been a really interesting way to track my growth. The very first open mic two years ago, I was so terrified being onstage, in front of people. SO terrified. And now here I am running City Weekly’s Best Poetry Open Mic and just last weekend I hosted the Salt Lake City Women of the World Poetry Slam qualifier. That was unquestionably the biggest thing I’ve done to date. The community and spirit of slam was actually part of my influence in starting WSSIHtR, and hosting a slam event is COMPLETELY different from an open mic–at least in terms of format. The general idea is the same. Thanks to my two years with WSSIHtR, thanks to my learning to come to terms with being in front of people, sharing my own words, my own spirit, and offering myself up to the altar of the creative community has taught me a lot. And I rocked the slam as the host. So much fun. It was definitely a learning experience in terms of the stuff that was different from slam to open mic, and I was far from perfect, but I did my best to keep up the energy and got the hang of it pretty well. For me being onstage is a unique experience. I am myself, but amplified. Weird sentiment but totally accurate. I don’t really disguise myself in a character created exclusively for the stage, and for me I think it works. It’s definitely more vulnerable, when people are seeing you pretty much as you are, but once you realize that you’re in control, that you’re the driver and by the way, you’re kick ass, it’s pretty fun. It’s getting to a point that works that is the real challenge. And it doesn’t come overnight. But damn is it a learning experience, and one that leads to more self-knowledge, more self-confidence, and a bigger appreciation for all the little steps that led you to your state of knowledge.
It’s on that note that I’ll end this blog with a BIG GIANT shout out to everyone past and present who has helped make When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution such a huge success. While it takes one person to lead, an open mic like this cannot exist without a supportive and engaged community. And everyone adds to the spirit that is built up over time.
Also–the future is shining pretty brightly. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is getting better every day.
–One last note, and I ended the May WSSIHtR open mic with this idea–When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution started on a dare, on a vague notion that something like this could happen and work, but no certainty whatsoever. It’s through dares like this one that hidden paths can be uncovered, that monsters can be defeated, that we can learn to overcome our fears. So for the month of June (and beyond?)–be daring. Have you always thought that your hair would be cooler neon green? Screw convention–do it! Have you been wanting to do something but you keep convincing yourself out of it? Stop rationalizing your fears. Dare yourself to do one thing every month that scares you. Just try. Even if it’s not the best experience in the world, you’ll have learned something. And we live once. What are we living for if we’re too cautious? Too safe? Give yourself permission to start your journey to flight.
The month of May means one thing to me, and one thing only. The ever-growing When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic is now another year older.
As of the last Saturday of this month, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will officially be 2 years old. And that means the whole month of May is going to be an incredible, event filled month! And here’s a run down of what we’re planning so you can add them to your planner or smart-phone and plan on being there!
Friday May 18, 2012, 7:30 pm @ Kafeneio Coffeehouse: Words of Temptation–An Erotica Open Mic
There is nothing more liberating than talking about those topics that are so often seen as forbidden fruits. Sex and sexuality and freedom to explore is the thing that made the TV Show Sex and the City so very popular, yet it’s still something many of us only talk about with people we know or certain circumstances. This month we will be having a very special evening full of words that ooze passion, desire, and temptation. The evening will be hosted by the sultry and sensual mistress of Salt Lake City Slam, DeAnn Emett (who I wrote about here along with the rest of the 2009 slc slam team).
The event will also act as a fundraiser opportunity for the Salt Lake Slam team raise money for Nationals this year, which are all the way over in North Carolina….Charlotte, NC to be exact. And if you’re excited to send Salt City Slam down to nationals this year, don’t worry, you do not have to wait…you can help them right now by clicking on this link! If everyone who reads this were to donate one dollar and everyone they shared this link with would donate a dollar and on and on….eventually all those dollars (or $5/$10) would add up!
This will be an event not to be missed! For one thing, how often is there an event like this in Salt Lake City? Not often enough, in my opinion. And if this is successful, we’ll definitely consider making this an event that’s scheduled again in coming months.
Tuesday May 22, 2012, 9:00 pm @ Club Jam: When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution–Date With the Night Party!
The road to making this open mic what it is has not been the easiest. There’s been a lot of work involved, a lot of planning, and a lot of anxiety. Yet it has continued to grow and expand beyond my imagination and i expect that it will continue to grow even beyond this.
So this–this is an opportunity to celebrate several things. First–most obviously–the continued presence of Salt Lake’s feminist-riot grrrl-infused open mic in the scene. For this fact alone, there will be a birthday cake. I can’t promise anything as far as the cake goes because I do have yet to order it, but I can tell you that it will most likely be vegan and it will be bought from a local store. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is a local open mic and continues to support local businesses, especially those businesses that are made of awesome.
This party will also be a celebration of persistence and feminism and the kickass women that make up our community. There will be some great drinks, great company and delicious cake, so do come out and celebrate the little open mic that refuses to go anywhere.
Saturday May 26, 2012, 7:00 pm @ Jitterbug Coffee: When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution Open Mic
Join WSSIHtR for words/music/ideas and concepts that will delight and inspire. The community of When She Speaks is indeed a revolutionary one, and is also one of incredible diversity. Poets, novelists, fiction writers, comedians, and musicians have all found a home at this open mic, and anything that can be performed is certainly welcome. While WSSIHtR was founded on the concept and continues to celebrate the act of bringing the creative women of SLC a home to share their works, it is not an exclusive open mic and is open to everyone, no matter how one identifies or where they are in their artistic process. The scariest part of being at an open mic is in the sharing and we are all nothing but supportive. This is a place where writers and musicians can expect to share and grow and network with each other, and the space aims to be a safe, supportive environment for EVERYONE.
The open mic lasts between 2-3 rounds and is always a lesson in expecting the unexpected! This month’s will be extremely special as it will mark the 2-yr anniversary of this spectacular event, so don’t miss out!
Finally: A Special Announcement. Or two.
I will be hosting the Salt Lake City Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is Poetry Slam WoWps Qualifier. I’m so excited to be hosting such an amazing event! Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is continues to be one of Salt Lake’s biggest slams and continues to bring in great features from all across the country and draws some of the best and brightest of the local slam scene! This will be especially exciting for me given that I will have an opportunity to be part of the process that ends up with a Salt Lake based qualifier for the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2013! So yeah. This is gonna be an incredible event. The only unfortunate thing about this particular slam is that there can only be one victor. I’m going to have to convince all of the other competitors to try and storm wowps 2013. Salt Lake can totally take over the 2013 wowps. ooh. I really like that idea…..(mwahahaha)
So in conclusion: if you can take Tuesday, May 29th off of work, call in sick, or something, then you should do it. Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is will be taking place on Monday, May 28 and it will kick so much ass that you’re gonna really need some extra sleep the next morning. Stay tuned for more details.
And a final note: WSSIHtR is making a zine! Be part of it by submitting your art/prose/poetry/feminist rants/etc to rebelgrrrl.theblog @ gmail dot com. Go ahead, go for it! There is currently no theme, though if some of you wonderful readers want to suggest themes and one of them rocks so hard that it’ll just have to happen….well, you could earn a cookie and a dedication in our latest zine.
This week couldn’t have had a better kickstart than seeing Girl in a Coma live. I saw them a few years ago shortly after Trio BC had been released and the song Static Mind had quickly become one of my favorite songs. They were at Burt’s Tiki Lounge and it was amazing. Small-ish crowd, but I was near the stage and I remember having the time of my life, jumping up and down as you do at shows where the energy can’t be contained. I remember Nina Diaz’s performance being especially stellar. So when I realized that Girl in a Coma was going to be in town and reminded myself that it would be ridiculously stupid to miss them, I got excited. I convinced a friend who wasn’t too familiar with the band to join me on a night that promised to be full of great music and she went with it, intrigued.
The night turned out to be better than expected. I hadn’t been following the tour, so I had no idea that Girl in a Coma was traveling with some amazing musical support. My friend and I actually got to the venue late, so we walked in in the middle of Sara Radle’s set. Until that evening, I had never heard of Sara Radle, but I was immediately impressed.
This is a woman who knows her guitar, knows how to mix catchy pop hooks with great songs, and has a beautiful voice and stage presence. Her backing band worked well with her songs, and even threw in character antics of their own (at the end of the set, the drummer stood up on the drum kit, freaking out my friend who happens to be a drummer herself). It turns out Sara Radle is no stranger to the music industry. She’s been working out of San Antonio, TX since the 90s and was a member of several bands in addition to her solo work.
One of those bands happened to be the reunited Rentals in 2005, where she had the opportunity to work with Matt Sharp (ex-Weezer bassist). Radle recently released her fifth solo album, Same Sun Shines, which is fully hers. Every instrument on the album was done by her, and she even went so far as to own the process of engineering and mixing. What better way to get exactly what you want to hear than through making something yourself?
If you are not familiar with Radle–I definitely recommend checking her out. She is an amazing musician and well worth spending some time with. Or better yet….money. You can buy her newest album or other albums in her discography online.
The band that followed Sara Radle was completely different. Once again, this was not a band I was prepared for, but whoa, they were absolutely incredible. If you’ve read my previous blog entry, then the name Piñata Protest should already register for you. At that moment in time, I had NO idea who they were, but oh was it impossible not to be affected by their intense, frenzied accordion powered punk/rock/tejano/pop music. Oh you don’t speak en espanol? Neither do I, but this is a band that continues to prove that good music is recognizable, even when you don’t understand the words. They are a band that is in your face, and living proof that musical cultures can combine to create something powerful. And live they are impossible to resist. If you’re not dancing, then you can’t be in that room, because the energy is just that intense. Another reason a band like Piñata Protest is so important is they are part of a cultural revolution in the United States and within the punk scenes. This is a band that not only refuses to apologize for its heritage, but embraces it, and creates a continuous evolution of what that traditional sense was. This is a band that is unapologetic and completely revolutionary. To catch you up to speed if you missed my earlier blog entry: Piñata Protest is a band originally brought together by Álvaro del Norte–a self taught punk-rock accordion player with mad skills-and drummer JJ Martinez. They play tight, fast accordion fueled punk and are wonderfully humble. If you have a chance to catch a Piñata Protest show–GO. Support this band. Share this band with your friends. These guys are onto something amazing.
After everything I’d seen before it was hard to be overwhelmed by Girl in a Coma. My mind had already been blown a few too many times over, and I had such a blast, especially while Piñata Protest was onstage. Dancing while they are onstage is not an option, it’s pretty much mandatory. Girl in a Coma was unquestionably amazing. My only disappointment during their set had absolutely nothing to do with them, and absolutely everything to do with what was wrong with the audience. If you’ve ever seen Girl in a Coma you know that lead singer/guitarist Nina Diaz is a showstopper. Once she is on the stage, music is more than just another experience, it’s a sacred ritual. Her energy high and you can’t help but to feel that she is giving you everything. Music is not a thing she does, it is THE thing. It’s intense.
And you don’t respond to that by standing there. The amount of people in the audience that just stood, maybe nodding a little, and barely smiling blew me away. Girl in a Coma has been making great music since day one, and continuously growing and developing as musicians, and their show was incredible, and here were people in the audience barely acknowledging the power that was being given to them.
As an audience member and as a longtime fan of the band, I was disappointed. And it leads me to the point of this entry, which many of you probably saw on facebook or twitter. I know rules are terrible and restrictive and limiting and all that stuff….but this one isn’t. This one is a real piece of what I’ll call punk rock wisdom learned here at this Girl in a Coma show at Kilby Court. It’s a rule that I’ve had to come to terms with, just because of the way I am, but it’s something that I think is about as undeniable as breathing.
If you’re at a concert where the band is giving their everything to you, and if it’s a band you like/love or even just a band that is moving you in some way–musically, lyrically, whatever–SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION. Let the band know that they are up on that stage for a reason. Let go of your inhibitions. Give into the music. And dance. Jump. Mosh if it’s allowed or that kind of show. Do something.
And if you don’t leave as sweaty as the band….then you’re doing it wrong.
And on that note–I’ll call this entry good and leave you with a few videos and links so that you can explore the bands and their music in more detail. Also remember how I mentioned the friend I went with to the show with was not actually familiar with Girl in a Coma? Well. I’m happy to report she left a convert, believing fully in the power of Girl in a Coma.
With no further ado….a few links for your perusal:
(If you’re a fan of GiaC you’ll notice there’s one song from each of their albums here…. : )