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Women Fuck Shit Up Fest At The Smell, On Sunday February 28th 2016 Reviewed

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Upset

 

During my second evening at Women Fuck Shit Up Fest on Sunday, a thought crossed my mind…. While Dave Grohl was playing at the Oscars ceremony in front of Hollywood’s crème de la crème, ex-Hole Patty Schemel was playing with her band Upset, inside a smelly dirty little club close to Skid Row… I could not help it but wonder, where Kurt Cobain would have been? Oh am I being too harsh on Dave, may be? He played the Oscars, and may be got a hefty goodie bag, good for him, but the real punks were at the Smell for a second night of fun.

I arrived at the Smell when One Coco was about to finish her set of pop-synth songs served by her remarkable and soulful voice. I regret to have only seen the end of her set because her music had beautiful harmonies and a slight touch of exotism.

Looking at the frontwoman’s long hair and ample chiffon dress, I immediately thought that Essy and the Call was a folk band, but it was much more than this. She was singing her folk-pop song with an earthy energy and a bluesy voice, and I would even say that there was a burning fire in this woman, who could transform her apparently quiet ballads into furious battles, carried away by a feisty and convincing delivery, violent guitar strumming and a Billy Idol lip curl.

Littlest Sister was an instrumental girl-boy guitar-drums duo, playing a rhythmic shoegaze with punching drumming and melancholic guitar picking or vigorous strumming. There was no vocals at all but they managed to captivate the audience all the same.

Spare Parts For Broken Hearts were two loud women battling in fuzz and distortions with a guy on drums as it was the case for many bands. They were repeatedly making violent guitar assaults and were singing in unison with lots of hair banging, installing an interesting punk chaos with a destructive rage and muscular monster riffs of distortion.

No Girlfriends, four girls in tuxedo, had a real power-pop-punk energy, a feisty attitude and some cute faces, while eating the mic or hitting hard on drums. The singer especially had a formidable and seducing energy, this girl was a riot by herself, with an exploding joy de vivre, empowering the crowd which asked for more at the end of their set. They executed with a bluesier number, keeping a rebellious attitude all-set long. And if you wonder what’s the deal with the name of the band, they explained this in an interview: ‘Our name actually refers to us being the band, not the band’s girlfriends. Feminism and homosexuality in one enjoyable package? Yay!’

The WASI people were pure balls of energy, a riot and a party at the same time, with fun and funk, additional drums and a restless frontgirl who could not stay at the same place for more than a second. Their uplifting bouncy punk riot pop (and yes, it was all this at the same time) was an invitation to party all night with an exotic guitar twirling around the chaotic and ever-changing scene. The singer ended up on someone’s shoulders while some of the crowd had climbed on stage.

Remember Ali Koehler? She was drumming for Best Coast and Vivian Girls, but she is now the frontgirl of Upset with Patty Schemel on drums as well as Rachel Gagliardi, Lauren Freeman on guitar and bass. They had this familiar morose tone letting a few poppy lines escape through the distorted and fuzzy wall of sound, but overall, the vibe remained aggressive while being professionally punched by Patty Schemel’s vigorous drumming. They sometimes sounded like a punk version of Best Coast, in loud assault mode, although there was not much move to watch on stage, even when the tempo was accelerating.

There was nothing post mortem about the band Post Life, whose members were all wearing French Vanilla’s shirt (another band playing at the fest). Their tiny frontgirl Brianna Meli had the feisty howls of Screaming Females’ Marisa Paternoster, although this was sweeter and much more triumphant. They were accelerating like mad people, and their last song, called Brain Damage’, was another wild ride only curled down by her long yells.

I had already seen Colleen Green a few times before, and she came with this same detached attitude, her signature sunglasses and her iPad/boom box providing the beats (and more) for her songs. With a sweet voice over a sludgy punk guitar, she sang with an I-don’t-care-about-the-world attitude, very minimal stage antics or crowd interaction. This has never prevented the crowd from loving her! Once agin, she did her thing, feeling at ease while alternating slow bubble pop tunes with punkish bullets, sometimes even in the same song.

Sunday was another evening made for empowering women… however I kept wondering all-night-long, almost all these bands were composed of lesbians or had at least a few gay members, why is that? Is feminism only reserved for the lesbian club? I understand this is one of the most enduring stereotypes, but come on straight women of all bands, we are far from having won the battle!

 

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Spare Parts For Broken Hearts

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WASI

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No Girlfriends

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Colleen Green





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