Tag: setlist

Review: Nottinghamshire Pride

by Ruth

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.

View from the Trans Tent.

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 colourful zines rub shoulders with badges from Single Bass and Dr Carmilla’s fantastic new album.

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:
My Body
Balls
Tory Scum
Repeat

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:
Balls
Debate Club Wanker
Short Songs
This Revolution is Not Complete
Intersectionality Song

Rebel Girl
Kirsty’s PhD
The Facilitation of Lawful Protest

Tory Scum

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).

Review: Bar Wotever

by Ruth

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!

Looking back, looking forward

by Ruth

Snowy:

Thursday’s gig has me looking in the rear view mirror. It was organised by the same people who offered us our debut performance just before Christmas, who were working in a similar capacity.

It’s also roughly a year since I unexpectedly bumped into Kirsty at a rock night in Coventry and she told me to start playing the drums for hers and Ruth’s band.

We’ve come a long way since both of those evenings. Here’s to a similarly long way yet.

Ruth:

I can’t believe it’s been around a year! We’ve come a long way in that time. For one thing, Snowy and I basically had no experience playing our respective instruments! The great thing about punk is that it can give anyone a gateway into music.

The crowd seemed a little bewildered on Thursday but I suppose that’s what comes of playing a postgraduate student event. I saw a few people getting into it though, loosening up, dancing a little, chanting along to “Tory Scum”. That’s what we like to see! Plus we got some great feedback afterwards.

Our next performance will be at the B/ull(s)hit Conference (University of Warwick library, Friday 4th May): a complete mockery of the academic world in which we’re embedded. Then we’ll be playing a “proper gig” at the Exchange in Leamington on 11th May before heading to London at the end of the month.

Thursday’s setlist:
News International
Balls
Intersectionality Song
Debate Club Wanker
Short Songs*
The Facilitation of Lawful Protest
Pasties and Beer
Kirsty’s PhD
Tory Scum
My Body
Rebel Girl**

* Dead Kennedys cover
** Bikini Kill cover