I'd never been to see a feminist hardcore punk band before last night and to be honest I'm still in shock at how incredibly uplifting, empowering and absolutely vital this movement and music is.
It was a bloody freezing night in Manchester and doors were early due to a Q&A with Girls Against about ending sexual harassment and assault at gigs against women (something I've had to experience 3 times in the last 12 months including 1 of the 2 gigs I've been to this year already). They also spoke about the importance of us coming together as communities to support each other, the importance of groups like local antifascist group Manchester 0161 Antifascists / 0161 Festival and how we can all make a difference by calling out our mates if they behave badly at gigs and in general.
Up first was solo artist Mollusca Vita a soul/punk/folk fusion that I've not heard anything like before but nonetheless she was blooming brilliant! Some very deeply personal lyrics in some f her tracks about people in her past as well as a nod to those moving from punk to selling out and voting Tory in the definite crowd pleasing track 83. She had great banter in between tracks and it all made for a great start. She said that she'd always wanted to play Deaf Institute and she definitely was loved by all in early doors. I can't find her music online to listen to, but I have managed to catch her first track. I enjoyed her set immensely.
I love encountering things that I haven't before when I go to gigs and the next support act Glove where definitely a group that fits into not seen anything like this mould. From their Celtic Warrior face paint that evoked images of Boudica their set list was so varied it's really hard to explain what it was like. From crimping about Aliens (see below) to songs like Escalator their set was something you just have to experience to know what I'm talking about. It was empowering, emboldening and fun. They got down onto the floor and so we felt a real part of their performance - I was in awe! If you ever get a chance to see them then go and see because I guarantee you, you won't have seen anything else like it.
And then onto the headliners the one and only Petrol Girls. Now I'd been listening to Petrol Girls for a few months now and so was already familiar with their sound. As is generally the case with most great bands live they took it up to a whole level of monolithically brilliance! From the get go with their inclusion of an female and non binary safe space at the front, meaning we could dance with the freedom of not being groped (happened to me only the week before) to their talk of inclusionary feminism I've never felt so part of a movement and free as I did last night. Music his about letting go but too often for women we're in fear of letting our guard down, well not last night! With the tone set in the creation of the set the band launched into their well known track The Sound and it was sensational! If you've read this blog before you'll know some gigs I take rather a lot of the headliners. Last night I took one, because the rest of the night I wanted to let go and just bask in the brilliance of this incredible band.
With tracks like Touch Me Again Big Mouth and No Love for a Nation, they're not going to appeal to everyone's taste and perhaps they won't ever be mainstream. But that's not the point. This music is about women being united, women supporting all women, women making a stand against any form of bigotry, any form of inequality and any form of injustice. It's about becoming one to make the world a better fucking place for women who have been shit on and marginalised for far too fucking long! At the end of their set before awarding a handwritten certificate for the evenings best dancer vocalist Ren Aldridge jumped off the stage and invited us all to have a massive hug. It felt like we were all one coming together in the fight against all that tries to push us down, to tell us to shut up, to tell us to cover up, tells us we're not good enough, we're not feminine enough.... it felt galvanising!
As usual all pictures and videos are ones I took. You can subscribe to my YouTube for more videos of gigs, I'm also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook where I share reviews, playlists, and some amazing interviews.