This past Wednesday night was eerily mild. It seemed as though Brooklyn had finally shed the chill of the long Winter spell and was transitioning into a desperately needed Spring. It was finally bearable enough to walk more than 10 minutes outside. The best part? I didn’t need a puffy coat, gloves, and a scarf the size of a small blanket to be comfortable.
Two girl friends and I headed out to Alphaville to catch an all-female line up that I had been really excited about for a few weeks. Three bands were playing, local Brooklyn based band Blush, Brooklyn trio Thick, and lastly friends of mine from Nashville, the women of Daddy Issues.
To be completely honest, I went to the show without any indication that I’d end up writing a piece on it. I can hardly ever find the time to write specifically for Space & Echo anymore. My schedule has just gone above and beyond busy over the last month and I’ve been pouring my creative energies into other projects, plus a new job at a start-up is sucking up quite a bit of my time. Really, this isn’t a review of the show. What I had Wednesday night was an experience that compelled me to write something. This piece, ultimately, is more personal and vulnerable than anything I’ve ever written that has been published to the public before. If vulnerability bothers you, female empowerment, or anything of the like, stop reading now.
Sadly, I missed Blush. Let me start by saying that I didn’t miss the opener to be ‘cute’ like a past partner of mine likes to claim. Here’s the thing, just because I’m a woman, doesn’t mean I exist to be cute. SHOCKING I KNOW. I was working on an interview with a band and I got caught up. Women do things like that, you know, work. Sometimes people are late for shows, life happens, that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll have an opportunity to catch Blush in the future and I’m really looking forward to that because I heard wonderful things about their set.
Here’s what I did notice upon arrival: the door person was a girl, the merch table was run by girls, and the sound person was a girl. Not only was there this badass line up of female bands, but the place was practically being run by women. It’s hard to explain what this feels like if you aren’t a woman. There are positions or occupations that you don’t typically see women filling, so you don’t really even know that that’s available to you. Since I’m a little older, I’ve really seen this shift in the last few years. Back when I started working in music venues 5 years ago, I really only remember seeing women working behind the bar. It was so rare that they were in other roles. The bands that played were predominately made up by men. Seeing this dynamic change so drastically today was something that was beyond empowering for me. It was something I immediately noticed, even if no one else in the room did.
I love seeing Thick perform live. They always have so much fun on stage. It’s just totally contagious, whether Nikki is spitting beer on to the crowd or jumping on to Shari’s drum set to rip at her guitar, all of it gets the audience moving. I particularly enjoyed “Puke’s Diner” and their new single, “Bleeding” (bet you can guess what that one’s about). What struck me during their set was when they played a song called “Wasting My Time.” I’ve heard this track a lot, live and online, but this time for some reason I began to tear up during the song. There is nothing sad about the song. It’s really upbeat, with crushing guitar parts and drums with attitude. It’s a breakup anthem but in the most energetic way possible. I undoubtedly was feeling overwhelmed with emotion and I was so thankful to be able to experience this night.
Daddy Issues came on last to close out the evening. What I really admire about them, is their ability to be vulnerable on stage, without being overly emotional. Like, “this song’s about being dumped” or “this song’s about sexual assault and if you condone that shit then get the fuck out.” That alone was such a striking moment for me. You don’t hear men getting on stage very often and saying, “Hey, this track is about a girl dumping me,” even if it’s a breakup song. There is such a unique experience of being a female or female-identifying and watching female musicians perform. It’s an experience that really only females and those identifying as such can share and understand. It truly made me grasp how important it is for girls to have female role models to look up to, female musicians to relate to, and females who can be honest enough to say, “hey, it’s okay to not always be strong.”
Last summer I read an interview on Still In Rock with Doris and Matt Melton of Dream Machine. Does that band even still exist? Anyway, I vividly remember being struck by her statements. She said, “Something that pisses me off about the music world is that girls have mostly become lazy jellyfish and are starting these horrible feminist bands just to try and ‘show men what they got’. The safe space mentality has made them weak. They don’t even know how to play their instruments! They’ll make songs about being ”sexually assaulted” or about how ”empowering” abortions are or some shit and it’s fucking retarded, they’re embarrassing themselves.” Her comments really pissed me off. What this showcase of females proved was that Doris Melton couldn’t be any more wrong.
These women aren’t lazy. They definitely know how to play their instruments. And no female needs to make up songs about being sexually assaulted, trust me, it’s real and it’s happening. If women are writing songs about it, it just means we’re finally comfortable enough to break the silence that has plagued us throughout the entirety of history.
Below is a B-grade video I took on my crappy iPhone of a really honest, raw song by Daddy Issues. It’s called “I’m Not” and it’s about sexual assault.
FYI: Thick has a new EP coming out on May 24, two days after my birthday. WOO.