PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News
Queer-centric, supportive bands team up for West Philly show
By Ray Simon
Music lovers who enjoy their rock and roll accompanied by generous helpings of feisty feminism and queer sensibility are in for a big treat.
Sugar Town and Permanent Wave Philly, local organizations committed to supporting women and LGBT artists, are teaming up to present an evening of kick-ass music Nov. 8 at Eris Temple Arts, 602 S. 52nd St.
The doors open at 8 p.m. for this all-ages show, and with tickets topping off at $7, attendees should have a few bucks left over to buy zines and vegan cupcakes.
The evening’s headliner is The Shondes, an indie-rock band that has been mixing music and politics since 2006. The quartet’s current lineup includes Louisa Solomon on bass and vocals, Elijah Oberman on violin and Fureigh on lead guitar. Allison Miller, the band’s newest member, previously played drums with openly LGBT musicians Erin McKeown and Melissa Ferrick.
The band’s support for progressive causes, its openly queer and transgender members and its strong female presence have led some critics to compare it to Riot Grrrl, but Solomon offers a straightforward description of the band and its sound.
“We are a rock band,” the singer said. “High energy, punky and sometimes a little experimental, but mostly we are trying to write sing-along rock songs that make people feel stuff.”
There’s certainly plenty of feeling on the quartet’s latest album, “The Garden,” released in September. Throughout, the lyrics are passionate and the music is stirring.
Although The Shondes call Brooklyn home, the band is no stranger to Philadelphia, having played numerous gigs here, including Phreak N’ Queer, which celebrates alternative, edgy LGBT culture.
“Oh man, we have played a billion Philly shows over the years so I don’t remember all of them, but the best ones have really been Sugar Town events,” Solomon said. “Sara Sherr is such a hero for feminist bands — she’s been bringing us down there since we started, basically!”
Sherr has actually been booking shows featuring female bands, DJs and performers since 2001. For this particular event, Sherr enlisted the help of Permanent Wave Philly, a group that formed roughly two years ago to create a safe space for feminist and LGBT artists and allies.
“Our main, overarching goal is to try to foster and strengthen a community of feminists, regardless of identity,” said Erica Rubin, one of the organization’s founders.
This upcoming concert enables Permanent Wave to continue supporting feminist culture and also reach new audiences. Making the show all-ages, for example, was a deliberate choice.Sugar Town and Permanent Wave Philly events are also known for showcasing local talent, and this concert is no different. Philadelphia’s Demonstrative Girls will kick off the evening with a bang. The band’s fast, furious punk rock should get the crowd pumped up.
The Pretty Greens, also local, will keep the room buzzing. Named after a song by Paul Weller’s old group, The Jam, this trio of hipsters shares the Englishman’s sense of style and appreciation for cool music, without being laddish.
The band began as a Go-Go’s tribute act and, after some lineup changes and a rechristening, its sound has morphed from the pure pop of its days as a cover band into a kind-of-artsy-garage rock. The current roster includes Julia Green on bass guitar, Carly Green on drums and Kool Schmool on guitar. All three share vocal duties.
In the band’s latest incarnation, image and music blend seamlessly.
“We do care about art, and I think we do care about creating and crafting our music and what our audience is perceiving,” Carly Green said. “And I think with a lot of that also comes responsibility which is another part of our group, the feminist aspect — how we think as individuals and kind of see the world, and how we feel like we’re trying to portray strong characters because we also want other people to be strengthened by being fierce ourselves.”
That fierceness is evident on The Pretty Greens’ recent release, the “Ghost World EP,” where “Overtime,” a song about women’s right to equal pay, is complimented by “Catnip Dream,” a Shonen Knife cover about cute kitties indulging in their drug of choice.
Listeners who enjoy smart, challenging music should come and check out this show. For more information about the concert, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1409520355944052/.
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