These four young women are all kinds of sassy. To me, they are Fem-rock/Girl-power and I love them. They also wear goofy spandex unitard suits with sequin trim, but I didn't know that until I saw them last weekend. Even with all of their attitude, you can feel their love for their audience. Plus, as B says, they also sell their own merch, which is good, and they are sparkly when they do it. I had already ordered one of their t-shirts online, but it didn't get here in time for the show... so I bought a mix CD and had them sign it.
Anyway, they did not disappoint me. They camped, vamped and riled the crowd - girls and boys alike. (I wasn't sure if I was just feeling a chick thing over them, or if the vibe crossed gender.) They incited a pogo-ing mosh pit surrounded by fist-waving women and smiling boys. Recs: March 1st, 3AM & Shattered.
They came to Missoula for Total Fest VII. Total Fest is put on by Wantage, a record label based here in Missoula with bands from around the country. The FEst takes place at The Badlander. During Total Fest, 3 stages play bands in rotation, with each band playing a 30 minute set. For the audience it is like a mini music buffet. 2 bands are always playing at once, plus a fourth 'extra' band plays in the lounge area where different bands and labels have tables of t-shirts, CDs, stickers, etc. If the band upstairs doesn't turn you on, check out downstairs, or take a break and wait about 20 minutes for the next turn over.
Maybe it was just how we timed it, but we also caught some good 2 piece bands and wonder if the two-piece band (drums/guitar) is a trend:
Two Japanese guys drove down from Minneapolis and apparently burned through a set of tires and barely made it. They are intense, uber-energy punk. I was mesmerized by the lead. They created the biggest rowdiest frenzy of testosterone that I saw there, but in a really great way. We also bought one of their funny t-shirts with a panda design.
Okay, it is a stretch (pun intended) to call this a 2-piece band. It is one guy. He plays drums and guitar at the same time and sings. If I only heard him and didn't SEE him, I don't know what I would be saying here, but this guy is an amazing and brilliant thing. He's not just making noise, either. Each foot hammers a different sized drum while he strums chords on the guitar, singing and smacks the cymbals with the end of the guitar. Wow.
Another 2-piece band that I admire that was part of Total Fest, that I did not catch this past weekend, is called Vera. Vera is based in Missoula, is a 2 woman band that are smart and funny with great energy. I think they are new, so I'll be eager to see them grow, record CDs, get a website and so on. I hope to post more on them in the future.
Another word about this music scene. I feel a shift in what I see with live music since the 80s. Particularly rock. Events like these were complete madness and hideous displays of drug and drunkenness where bullies prevailed. It was dog-eat-dog. Especially for a girl, I think. And the better the band, the worse people behaved. As if they felt permission from all of the energy. What I saw at Total Fest though, was great. I think punk is back in the best sense of the word. Young men seem a lot less angry (or I am more objective) as they jump and collide they also hold each other up, laugh and hug each other a lot. I don't know how to explain it, but I like what I saw.
And as far as events go, I am super critical of organized events since I have done a fair bit of event planning. The bands did an excellent job moving in (and off) in a timely fashion, keeping things rolling and revealing, I think, a lot of respect for one another. Usually events with multiple 'shows' fall behind quickly either from disorganization or the pride and egos of presenters who just hate to leave the stage. I didn't notice this here, if it happened. I also noticed bands helping out other bands that maybe didn't have a relationship before this event, sharing drum kits, helping clear the stage, etc. I saw a lot of that.
Plus there were water coolers with ice-water that were kept full. This was important to me since it feels lame to wait in a long beer line for an ice water. I tip for it, but still. So the bar or the organizers cared about keeping everyone hydrated. How granola is that? (THANK YOU!)
Wait. They didn't stop there. They also set up a buffet so people would eat. I didn't see excessive drunkenness or rudeness or trashiness. I guess that I have mostly been to these kinds of events in big cities, but really, not even a folk-festival is as civilized as this. The average age was probably 25, so maybe kids are growing up with more manners. I don't know.
But for $15 per person, we showed up at 9:00 PM for an event that was a few hours into its second night and we saw eight bands and left by 11:30. Yeah, you can't beat that with a big stick or even a chain-saw.
My only complaint was figuring out the schedule of the line-up before that night, so I would know WHEN to catch The Trucks, which was all that I cared about at that time. Now that I have been, I would go at the start. In a heartbeat.