They began as guitarist Steph’s home demos. Eventually, when it came to the idea of playing them live, she wanted her band to be all black women.
Steph wrote this piece last year about racism in punk, which was unfortunately (and non-surprisingly) met with a slew of negative feedback. It was followed up with this entry (on her spectacular blog Don’t Dance Her Down Boys) as to why that reaction highlighted the need to put this band together.
The addition of Chardine (drums/vocals) and Kiera (bass/vocals) came together last summer, with the aim to play a First Timers gig- a mini festival of sorts that asks anybody and everybody to try their hand at starting a band.
Big Joanie accomplished this goal of course, and have been playing live ever since.
I had the absolute joy of experiencing them for the first time this past weekend at WOWZERS festival.
They describe themselves as “The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY” which is most fitting. Their guitar sound also had me reminiscent of both Pixies AND The Breeders, which appears to be a fare comparison as they’ve covered both. A very fun live treat came in the form of their rendition of TLC’s classic “No Scrubs”, which had much of the crowd singing along.
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to talk solely about their unique take on other people’s material. Their original content is very promising, and although they are still young in band years, they are clearly putting the work in. They appear to have a clear vision of what they would like to do with this project, and the results are instantly likeable. This song in particular was one of my highlights so I’m happy to find the demo. It features a back and forth vocal between Steph and Kiera.
I also feel it’s something to be said about the energy this band portrayed on stage. I don’t mean in a way that they were throwing their instruments about or jumping around, more that they all seemed so radiant. They have a strong message that they want to bring out, but they do so in their own way. They were full of smiles and it reflected back from the crowd. Their music is where their power lies, and in creating such a positive environment perhaps the listener will pay more attention. I am really looking forward to seeing what else they will do.
The band’s musical output leans towards the sludgier side of punk. Think along the lines of Flipper, or early Pissed Jeans but with riot grrrl influences. They occasionally address heavy subject matter, but with a slightly warped sense of humour, such as in this track. Their brand of satire also carries onto their naming of their EPs, which is based on the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”.
This version of “NHS Vulva” is from their first release.
Kicking off on International Women’s Day, Wowzers is a community-led festival celebrating the creativity of women and girls around the globe.
Over two inspirational days, Wowzers will play host to an exciting array of activities, from workshops and interactive talks to musical performances, art exhibitions and late-night DJs! It will provide an opportunity for women and girls of all backgrounds to gain inspiration, learn from peers, test out their ideas, innovate, and celebrate their achievements. Contributing organisations already confirmed include the girls are, Oguntê, Irreverent Dance, Storm in a Teacup, Black Feminists,Girl Germs, Chayn Pakistan, and Fanny Pack with many more to be announced…
WHAT’S THE IDEA?
Wowzers was set up by a small team of passionate and experienced event organisers who recognised a need for a dynamic, inclusive and fresh approach. Our mission is to create a space for all corners of feminism in order to advance emerging issues and to nurture up-and-coming talent, while recognising the intersections with race, class, disability, age and LGBTQ issues.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It’s simple really - you attend for free and are invited to donate towards sessions or activities on a “pay what you can” basis at all levels. Organisations contribute what they are able to, financially and in-kind. We invite everyone who makes a contribution to help us shape the weekend’s activities by proposing sessions and activities they would like to run!
Running events in this format is what we do best. It means the event’s content is entirely crowd-sourced and funded by you. It is very much your event, an event by the community, for the community - we just provide the framework and cover the logistics.
This approach drives down costs phenomenally, however, we still need a certain level of money to get the show on the road. The more money we can raise the better we can make the festival!
By donating you can help maximise participation from all sections of the community by enabling us to keep the event free to attend. Wowzers is a not-for-profit event so all your generous donations will go towards making it as interactive and inclusive as possible. In addition, everyone who donates will have the opportunity to shape the weekend’s activities by proposing a session.
Think of it like this: if you’d rather attend Wowzers than a (probably bechdel-failing!) film at the cinema this weekend, or you’d buy the team a round of coffees for their hard work and enthusiasm, contribute that - however much it is - and we’ll ensure it’s put to the best possible use building the event you want to see!
Any surplus from 2014’s event will be put towards another (hopefully even bigger and better) event in 2015.
Hip hop artist based in Chicago, IL. Jovan Landry is also a noted filmmaker and photographer.
Her musical style is reminiscent of 90s underground hip hop, and it is evident that she pays homage to her influences. However, her ability as a lyricist brings it to a whole new level. Her words draw a narrative, based around life stories and important issues. Her bold delivery propels her tales even further.
This track in particular calls out street harassment. It’s a big one to fit into two minutes, but it works. It has a slight tongue in cheek feel to it, but it doesn’t at all lessen the message.