We recorded a number of our songs at the weekend in Leamington’s Complete Sound Studio. You can hear (and download!) them for free at our Bandcamp page.
We’ve been making little references to Revolt for some time, and even put a hastily constructed poster for it onto the back of our most recent zine. But finally, the time has come to reveal more about Coventry’s riot grrrl night!
Revolt will take place in Taylor John’s House on Saturday 13th October. We’ll be opening the night in support of other punk bands, spoken word acts, DJs and a feminist burlesque group. Excited? Of course you are.
Full details can be found on the Revolt page, which should be updated over the next couple of months as more details are announced.
I’ve never been to a Pride event quite like the one in Nottingham.
I’m used to large inner-city affairs bounded by concrete, in which ordinary revellers festooned in rainbow clothing rub shoulders with extravagant drag acts, corporate floats, angry activist types, and a whole host of questionable human adverts employed by the big clubs. Vibrant street discos in which almost exclusively male DJs pump out the dance music that’s become synonymous with the scene, lesbian singer-songwriters singing quietly from small tent in a car park, community organisers and charities getting a word in edgeways whenever they can, and that same guy in the flat cap selling whistles on every corner.
I’m also aware that some Pride events are far smaller, less extravagant affairs. Pink picnics in town and city centres, small but powerful marches in areas of tension, and club collaborations between established scene names.
Nottinghamshire Pride was something else entirely. Placed slap-bang in the middle of a massive field, it was more akin to a (largely) family-friendly music festival, albeit one that happened to be really gay. There were many different tents, every kind of act you might imagine, and barely any of the corporate nonsense I’ve come to associate with Pride.
I normally object stridently to the idea of paying for Pride, but at £1 per head the entry cost struck me as entirely reasonable for all. And with an estimated 20,000 visitors, it’s a pretty good way to raise large amounts of money whilst minimising the need for dodgy sponsorship deals.
It was the most chilled-out, friendly and diverse Pride event I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.
We spent most of the day at the Trans Tent, so the content of my review reflects this. The very idea of a Trans Tent was pretty exciting given how marginalised trans people tend to be within the wider LGBTQetc community. Recreation Nottingham – a local support and social group – successfully won both the tent and a pot of money for performers after approaching the Pride organising committee, and proceeded to book a wide range of acts featuring both trans people and allies.
Things didn’t quite run according to plan on the day due to various delays, technical hitches and the like, but the Trans Tent was ultimately a triumph. Every performer was brilliant in their own way, and impromptu stage manager Jennifer of Single Bass did a great job of keeping everything running.
And so without further ado, and in (broadly) chronological order, a review of the acts I managed to see…
Solo singer-songwriter Single Bass performed a number of short sets throughout the day. Her songs were accompanied by fluid, evocative basslines rather than the typical acoustic strumming you might expect from such an act. The material was gentle but fun, soft yet strident.
El Dia performed feminist poetry and hip-hop that explored her identity as a queer woman of colour. Her powerful, punchy words tackled the complexity of femme power, gender politics and race in a world full of both oppression and potential.
Elaine O’ Neillwas on form, delivering a typically warm and witty series of poems that examined the intricately silly ways in which trans people (and the process of transition) are understood by the wider world. As always, her puntastic take on the relationship between doctors, surgeries, surgeons and hospitals was a particular delight.
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time are always a lot of fun, and their three sets during the afternoon were no exception. Highlights included the cabaret act’s tuneful skewering of of Gok Wan, and the sight of Margaret Thatcher performing the Evil Charleston. Unfortunately the orientation of the stage and less-than-intimate environs of an open tent meant that the group’s performance had considerably less emotional impact than I’ve experienced on previous occasions. Nevertheless, they rose impressively to the challenge.
Dieselpunk singer-songwriter Dr Carmilla forsook her normal electric instrumentation for a compelling set of originals and covers on a very shiny ukulele. The dark, evocative tone of her tunes translated surprisingly well to the bright sound of her instrument. Notable moments of genius included a re-imagining of Radiohead’s Creep (“Because I’m a crip…”) and a thoroughly original Rickroll.
Our own performance was meant to take place near the start of the afternoon (following Elaine’s poetry) but for various reasons we had to rapidly re-arrange everything, and ended up playing two sets.
The first took place around mid-afternoon. We rapidly set up the stage, performed the world’s fastest line check, prevaricated a little over whether or not to swear in front of a potential all-ages audience during our cover of Repeat, and then blasted out a wave of messy noise.
Not Right set 1:
It went pretty well, with an additional benefit of the increased noise drawing in a larger audience. Some got into it; others others seemed to stare in a state of mild confusion. We couldn’t have asked for much more!
We originally assumed that we’d be taking to the stage again shortly afterwards and effectively play the second half of our set. However, it turned out that a whole bunch of acts had to leave early, so we agreed to stick around for the rest of the afternoon and effectively provide the stage’s closing performance.
Sadly we missed a few acts whilst grabbing a much-needed bite to eat: amongst them was the Sensational Sally Outen, who has always made me laugh hysterically whenever I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her live. I could hear her inhuman dinosaur shrieks emerge from the tent in the distance as I queued for jerk chicken.
We returned in time for an astonishingly powerful poetry reading from Roz Kaveney. She opened with an epic account of the Stonewall Riots, reflecting upon the motivations and actions of those who were there and those who might have been there; expounding upon the context of lives both known and unknown in a more difficult, more brutal world. Roz then read a couple of poems about her cunt (and to think we had a brief moment of concern about swearing…). She explored the feeling of feeling, the very experience of living through radical surgeries before growing into your remoulded skin.
A later, second set from Roz was more relaxed, more comedic, as she performed a number of delightfully dirty poems about sex as seen largely through the prism of age. I was familar with much of the material, having previously read many poems on Roz’s LiveJournal, but it was a delight to see it performed live.
George Hadden played a good acoustic set, tales told with feeling. His music was great for a sunny afternoon, and a relief of sorts from the heavy material on offer from some of the other acts!
Fellow punk band Trioxin Cherry also took to the stage in acoustic format as a stripped-back two-piece. Their material was a lot of fun, and certainly a lot more polished than our own! Of note was their cover of a song by The Creepshow, a band favoured by Snowy.
The final performer prior to our second set was Jessie Holder of queer feminist opera group Better Strangers. Now, opera really isn’t my thing, but I’ll readily admit that this was a very special performance. Singing to a backing track, Jessie explored the inherently queer complexities of classic roles, bringing an appropriately different performance to Pride.
We then dived back on stage for our second set. We decided to treat it as an entirely separate performance, writing a new setlist and bringing back a couple of songs we’d played earlier that day.
Not Right set 2:
Debate Club Wanker
This Revolution is Not Complete
The Facilitation of Lawful Protest
We were more relaxed than earlier and I think we benefited from this, with our playing more cohesive and direct. Particular highlights for me included a well-received performance of new song This Revolution, the collection of stereotypically lesbionic ladies who turned up to dance during our cover of Rebel Girl, and the amused reaction of the police officers who wandered over during Tory Scum.
There was also this gem of a comment from a friend:
‘Lady at Nottinghamshire Pride walking away with her 6/7 year old son: “So what have we learnt today darling? Tories are scum.”‘
As we packed away our equipment we got a taste of the variety elsewhere on the festival site, as furious folk-punk fiddling erupted from the nearby (and somewhat inaccurately named) Acoustic Stage. The culprits were the incredible Seamus O’Blivion, who I wish I’d had the time (and energy!) to see properly. I’ll certainly be looking into their music.
Apparently our set was filmed, so we’ll see about linking to that when it appears online! In the meanwhile, we’ll soon be announcing details of Revolt, a riot grrrl night we’re playing in Coventry come October.
We couldn’t have done it on our own, so I’d like to thank Leamington Jess (for transport), Dan and Freja of We Are A Communist (for loan of equipment), Nottingham Jess (for dealing patiently with a deluge of organisational emails) and Kat (for booking us following a chance meeting on the train to Manchester).
We’re playing the Trans Tent at Nottinghamshire Pride from around 1:30pm tomorrow (Saturday). In a sense, this is our first “festival” gig. We’ll be debuting a new song during our half-hour set, and will have some multi-coloured copies of our second zine.
If you can make it, there’s a whole load of other exciting things happening in the Trans Tent during the Saturday afternoon. Recreation Nottingham have put together a brilliant line-up with some of the best trans and queer performers in the country. Poetry, cabaret, comedy and rock…it’s all here.
We’ve created a Facebook event page for our set.
…and the full timetable for the afternoon is available below!
12:00 (Pride opens)
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time (1st set)
Dr Carmilla (1st set)
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time (2nd set)
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time (3rd set)
We’re playing Robbin’s Well for the second time in as many weeks this coming Wednesday, at an event run by student promoters Resound. We’ll be playing alongside Subject To Change, Gunmen of the Apocalypse, Coast Is Clear and Instinct By Default.
The night kicks off at 7:30pm and entry is free! What’s not to like?
There’s an event page here for Facebook users.
Then at the end of July we’ve been invited to play the trans area at Nottinghamshire Pride (no, really!) We don’t have many details on this one as yet, so watch the live page for updates.
We’re playing the basement of Robbin’s Well again tomorrow, alongside the awesome Mongolian Death Worm, We Are A Communist and Matt Shillito. It’s been organised by Dan and Freja of Communist.
We leaped onto the bill for this one at the last minute for various personal reasons…but better a late announcement than no announcement!
There is a Facebook event page here.
We’ve unfortunately had to pull out of “Moulin Rage” in Cambridge, due to important personal commitments that have come up in the last few days.
Very sorry to anyone who hoped to see us play there! If it’s any consolation, we’re hoping to pick up some more Midlands gigs in the next couple of months.
Moreover, if you happen to live in or near Cambridge you should totally go to the event anyway, because it’s for a good cause and has a fantastic line-up! Full information can be found in the following places:
What a night!
Tuesday’s set at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern was without a doubt the best gig we’ve ever played. Until now we’ve enjoyed providing some increasingly raucous performances, but we’d not quite managed to tap into that sound that we get in the practice room, when it all comes together and sounds like it’s meant to, like it does in our heads.
On Tuesday we managed it and then some. Sure, we’re still pretty rough and ready, but that’s the point. I felt my voice and my bass lock in with Kirsty’s vicious riffs and Snowy’s inventive drumming, as we shared our joy and anger with an utterly receptive audience. We also debuted a new backdrop flag and a new cover: Manic Street Preachers’ Repeat, a perfect song for the Jubilee.
We couldn’t ask for a more warm and welcoming crowd than at Wotever. A massive “thank you” to everyone who came!
Of course, our set was just the start of the night!
I didn’t manage to catch much of Killer’s Riches because we were packing our stuff, but what I did hear was pretty awesome. Kye Oram is a lovely fellow with a great voice, great hair, great politics and a heap of passion. I’m not sure whether he was attacking his guitar or making love to it, but either way there was a whole load of noise for one guy with an acoustic instrument.
I’ve been meaning to see The Makeshifts for ages so this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Their music moved organically from quiet beauty to raging folk-punk wig-out and back again without fault: wonderful! I was particularly impressed by the addition of two new band members (including a temporary drummer, covering for a guy who has just had surgery) without any apparent impact on the group’s sound, which was very impressive. The addition of a violinist was particularly cool and really worked. A special mention should also go to the mesmerising cover of Mr Brightside – I really hate that song, and the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the Makeshifts’ moving reinvention says a great deal. Vocal harmonies for the win.
Closing the night were Battle Of You, who were without a doubt the most polished act of the night. This was pop music as it should be, with songs that are actually about something performed with meaning and energy. Each song was stuffed full of hooks that cried out for you to dance around and sing along. There was some great musicianship from each member of the group, but it always served the bands’s quest for a perfect tune. Plus: pink spandex! A great headline act who I really hope to catch again one day.
Kudos also to Joe Pop and Seth Corbin for great DJ sets.
Finally, thanks to Jo and Ingo for organising such a wonderful night, and putting faith in us!
Here’s a video about the night by Jess Eyre, including a short snippet of “Tory Scum” and a brief interview with myself:
Our setlist is up here, with photos to hopefully follow soon!
It’s now less than a week until our gig at Bar Wotever, in London’s legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Details are as follows:
Date: Tuesday 29th May
Location: The Royal Vauxhall Tavern (just across the road from Vauxhall tube station)
We’re playing first, so get down early if you can!
Well that’s another two gigs played!
First up, the B/ull(s)hit conference. A send-up of academia, we put to the test Charles Gill’s suggestion that our songs would be better augmented by slides exploring their topics in greater detail. We’re indebted to Ellie Lincoln for the loan of her electronic drum kit, as well as the organisers and attendees of the conference for putting up with our bullshit!
What made the gig interesting from my point of view was the slight lag caused by running the drums through the speakers of the room. While Kirsty and Ruth had to focus on following the sound from the speakers rather than the noise from my sticks hitting the pads, I had to concentrate on ‘playing’ a split second ahead of where they were.
Next up was our gig on Friday at the Exchange. A little bit touch and go since feeling ill had left me housebound on the day we were supposed to practice for it! Seemed to go down well though, with Ruth improvising some crowd singalongs to our new song Pasties and Beer.
It was an awesomely experienced lineup, with both Subject To Change and Sacrament having a year’s gigging over us, as well as both Matt Shillito and Mike Snowden laying down some incredible acoustic numbers.
Friday was also the day when Rebekah Brooks gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry, including details about how close her relationship with David Cameron was. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this story about their SMS conversations.