Pop-Culture | Posted by Brian C on 08/28/2011

Support Women Artists Sunday: Womenpalooza

First of all let me say that attending Lollapalooza is one of the most fun experiences you could possibly have and I’m lucky enough to have gone for a third straight year. I will now pause for you all to get over the momentary jealousy you are no doubt experiencing. Also, in case you were unaware, Lollapalooza is a three day rock festival put on in Grant Park every year with over 120 bands playing on 8 stages over the three days. This year Lolla was sold out, making capacity reach 90k each day. So, pause two for any people late on the jealousy parade.

At first I was kind of bummed to see the lack of a female band as a headliner this year. The previous two years I had gone there were ladies leading the charge – namely Lady Gaga (last year) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (two years ago). Women are still under-represented at Lolla with female-led bands only earning about 25% of time on the four main stages. None even held a spot opening for a headliner.

Although it’s easy to highlight the lack of women in rock and roll, my festival was a celebration of the women who were there, and quite frankly they kicked ass. So here goes a tour of the women of Lolla’ 2011.

Friday’s list of fantastic female artists (didn’t attend because I had to work but it’s a sore subject)-Dani Deahl, Christina Perri, Black Cards, Cults, Tennis, Le Butcherettes, Kerli, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Ceci Bastida, Wye Oak, and Ruby Jane.

The Women I Would’ve Killed to See:

1) Cults – Anyone who is awake in the indie music scene has heard of Cults and their unique approach to rock and roll, which includes rocking out guitars coupled with spacey rhythms to couple lead singer Madeline Follin’s high pitched, poignant lyrics. Also featured prominently are bells. Album critics are calling their self titled freshman release to be one of the best, most original releases of 2011.

2) Tennis – Do you like to relax? Tennis is a band for you. Tennnis is composed of husband and wife Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. Chemistry reveals itself in the melodic tunes found on their recent release Cape Dory that sent critics yearning for more. Tennis is known for a very laid back sound that certainly has undertones of beach rock. Kind of like a Beach Boys…except with a female lead singer, and less obvious guitar riffs.

3) Le Butcherettes – You know that in-between phase when you’re in the middle of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ releases? Just check out Le Butcherettes. I implore you, put lead single New York off of Le Butcherettes’ Sin Sin Sin up against any Yeah Yeah Yeahs song and try to notice a significant difference. Let me save you some time, you won’t find one. It’s wonderful. Still want originality in bands though, not merely sound-a-likes? Le Butcherettes clearly differentiate themselves with originality in tracks such as The Leibniz Language. Images of Heart even come to mind as I listen. Sin Sin Sin is a top recommend of mine from 2011.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

4) Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – As The Black Keys continue to make blues rock mixes mainstream in America, Grace Potter emerges. First and foremost, Grace Potter has a wonderful rock voice, ripe with passion and experience. Grace Potter really knows how to rock out and lord knows there are few things better than a guitar solo followed by a voice that can really wail. Their third album, self titled, really hits stride and is easily one of the best albums of 2010.

5) Kerli – If Kerli were a word in Taboo, the words that you couldn’t use as clues would include: Estonian, dark pop, blue hair, and individual. Interested yet? Kerli was shot into popularity with single, Walking on Air. While Kerli is pop, it is extremely well put together and well polished, especially considering she only has one LP released. I recommend immediate purchase of her album cheerily titled, Love is Dead.

There are definitely other artists I would’ve loved to see, but these are my faves so check em out! Tune in next week for a recap of Saturday (A day I could actually attend).

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  • Annie @ at 3:02 pm, August 28th, 2011

    YES you mentioned Kerli! I love her so, so much and appreciate that she is firmly pro-choice and pro-gay rights. Not to mention she’s beautifully creative and intelligent and flat-out amazing.

  • tim van horn @ at 5:08 pm, August 29th, 2011

    Brian-
    Grace Potter was chosen to headline the pre-festival GalaPalooza charity where they raised a ton of cash, she headlined the pre-Bonnaroo “Buzz” tour, was chosen to “carry the torch” for the festival opening (whatever that entails), was given the main stage this year, and she replaced her male bassist with a female bassist for GPN.

    I’m not really clear on your motivation in supposedly championing the cause of female-led R&R bands at festivals. Wow, talk about niche market. Sorry, but I’m always skeptical of persons named “Brian” who work so hard to be seen as being passionately devoted to female-led R&R bands.

    “[M]y festival was a celebration of the women who were there”? Really?

    On the other hand, if you’re sincerely scouting for a feminist-oriented political movement to beat the drum for, this may not be such a bad choice. Cause it looks like you’ve got the field all to yourself on this one. Just seems vaguely insincere. Or, maybe slightly creepy, hard to say which.

    As for Grace Potter, I’m not sure where GP is on the feminism scale. I know she supports and encourages new, girl acts [her terminology, not mine]. I don’t think she’s gay though(is that proper or is it supposed to be lesbian?), because she has a “boyfriend-husband” [her drummer, Matt Burr], and wears a wedding band on stage. And, she claimed in a televised interview with George Lopez that, when she was first introduced to Robert Plant, she offered to take him into the bathroom right then, no questions asked. What she meant by that heaven only knows.

    On the flip side (forgive me), a concert reviewer recently mentioned that she had tried to goad women in the audience into taking off their panties and throwing them on stage. And, she has in the past complained that her audiences are mostly guys, but that it was slowly changing.

    But, I think that’s all phony, too. Like Lady Gaga, that stuff is just a blatant play for gay money. So, actually, you, Grace Potter and Lady Gaga all seem very much alike in that way.

  • Emma E @ at 1:06 pm, August 31st, 2011

    KERLI!!!!!! I was actually considering writing a SWAS on her–She’s AMAZING. I’d never really listened to the goth-pop genre until I found her and bought Walking on Air (Best.Song.Ever.) just because I liked the album cover. Seriously, everyone, Google her. She might look like a Gaga copy at first, but once you listen to her music…There’s no resemblance. And the Walking on Air video is creepily gorgeous! Seriously. Her music is the best.

    Okay, rant over. :)

  • Emma E @ at 1:12 pm, August 31st, 2011

    Also: Tim, don’t you think you’re being a little harsh? You say you’re generally suspicious of guys who champion women’s causes…Why? Guys can be feminists. Without guy feminists, the women’s movement would NOT be where it is today. Give them a little more credit.

  • tim van horn @ at 5:21 pm, September 6th, 2011

    Emma-
    Am I being a little too harsh? No. I wasn’t harsh enough, I’m sorry to say. Insincerity and hypocrisy to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Although you quoted me as saying something I clearly did not, maybe it was just your intuition kicking in, because that is exactly how I feel. Yes, you are correct that guys can be feminists because I count myself as one. But, only when and where I can contribute in some meaningful and helpful way. But, when a guy portrays himself as being so fervently devoted to such a very, very obscure and frivolous cause, it’s a dead give-away, sorry.

    Proof in point: does anyone at all share his “passion” on this “issue”? I don’t know of a single soul. Maybe because it’s untrue, it’s as phony as a three dollar bill.

    Second proof: Brian solemnly intones, “[I]‘t’s easy to highlight the absence of women in rock and roll”. Oh, brother. Is he REALLY SERIOUS!!?? Obvious answer: No, he’s not. He’s not sincere. It’s obvious because the purported object of his premise itself is so obviously and demonstrably untrue. No intuition needed.

    As a guy, my real-life experience with this type (principally at school), has been that these guys, to a man(including the profs), were merely self-gratifiers seeking to ingratiate themselves with as many wide-eyed coeds as humanly possible. If engaging conversation was the object, it was usually successful. And, the hoped for sexual opportunities could not be discounted either. It’s true, no one is as passionate as someone passionately seeking someone to share their passion with.

    But, in this case, if companionship is not the point, then what is it? Well, what ranks a close second to sex as a source of human motivation? That’s right, ultimately, financial benefit, in one form or another. Please take note.

    Third proof: Are there NO real, serious and substantial issues confronting women today? If so, wouldn’t real, serious and substantial people devote their time, resources and psychic energy to prenatal care for the poor? child care for single mothers? Pay inequality? Glass ceilings? Sex slaves? (Oops. Sorry. Too many “slaves” have been complaining of late that no one is paying enough attention to themselves as willing participants and economic engines. [See what I mean about the power of sex and money]? As such, we must now re-categorize under “sexual preference” as a cause, by definition, now to be celebrated and championed). Maybe Brian has in the past thrown his support behind such issues also. But, he not only loses cred, he trivializes himself by championing manufactured causes (with a straight face).

    “Without guy feminists, the movement would not be where it is today”? Emma, where is that, exactly? Don’t look now, but it’s no longer a movement. Hasn’t been for many years. Not as it once truly was. Today, from lack of effective leadership, it ranks in relevance to American women below that of the Hispanics, gays, environmentalists, social conservatives, fiscal progressives and evangelicals and, on a good day, above the vegans and ethanol activists. I don’t think you can blame that on the guy feminists, either, who in actuality, as a group, contributed nothing of any lasting value.

    Emma, you may not be old enough to know this, but the movement exists today only as a treasured memory in the minds of a very few. Maybe, like vinyl records, it will resurrect itself as a relevant force one day. If it’e ever invited back on stage, it will only be by popular demand, and only under effective and (this time) serious and pragmatic leadership.

    In the meanwhile, should we all really content ourselves with lobbying for more girl rock and roll bands? The very idea is something Grace Potter ferociously fights against.

  • Tim @ at 12:58 am, September 7th, 2011

    Emma-
    Am I being a little too harsh? No. I wasn’t harsh enough, I’m sorry to say. Insincerity and hypocrisy to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Although you quoted me as saying something I clearly did not, maybe I should have, because that is how I feel. Yes, you are correct that guys can be feminists, because I count myself as one. But, only when and where I can contribute in some meaningful and helpful way. But, when a guy portrays himself as being so fervently devoted to such a very, very obscure and frivolous cause, it’s a dead give-away, sorry.

    Proof in point: does anyone at all share his “passion” on this “issue”? I don’t know of a single soul. Maybe because it’s untrue, it’s as phony as a three dollar bill.

    Second proof: Brian flatly states, “[I]‘t’s easy to highlight the absence of women in rock and roll”. Ohhh, brother. Is he REALLY SERIOUS!!?? Obvious answer: No, he’s not. He’s not sincere. It’s obvious because the purported object of his premise itself is so obviously and demonstrably untrue. No intuition needed.

    As a guy, my real-life experience with this type (principally at school), has been that these guys, to a man(including the profs), were merely self-gratifiers seeking to ingratiate themselves with as many wide-eyed coeds as humanly possible. If engaging conversation was the object, it was usually successful. And, the hoped for sexual opportunities could not be discounted either. It’s true, no one is as passionate as someone passionately seeking someone to share their passion with.

    But, in this case, if companionship is not the point, then what is it? Well, what ranks a close second to sex as a source of human motivation? That’s right, ultimately, financial benefit, in one form or another. Please take note.

    Third proof: Are there NO real, serious and substantial issues confronting women today? If so, wouldn’t real, serious and substantial people devote their time, resources and psychic energy to prenatal care for the poor? child care for single mothers? Pay inequality? Glass ceilings? Sex slaves? (Oops. Sorry. Too many “slaves” have been complaining of late that no one is paying enough attention to themselves as willing participants and economic engines. [See what I mean about the power of sex and money]? As such, we must promptly re-categorize the industry under “sexual preferences” which, as a cause, is now to be celebrated and championed, by definition). Maybe Brian has in the past thrown his support behind such issues also. But, at least in this instance he not only loses cred, he trivializes himself by championing a manufactured cause (presumably with a straight face).

    “Without guy feminists, the movement would not be where it is today”? Emma, where is that, exactly? Don’t look now, but it’s no longer a movement. Hasn’t been for some time now. At least not as it once truly was. Today, from lack of effective leadership, it ranks in relevance to American women below that of the Hispanics, gays, environmentalists, social conservatives, fiscal progressives and evangelicals and, on a good day, above the vegans and ethanol activists. I don’t think you can blame that on the guy feminists, either, who in actuality, as a group, contributed nothing of any lasting value.

    Emma, the movement only exists today as a memory in the minds of a very few. Maybe, like vinyl records, it will resurrect itself as a relevant force one day. If it’s ever invited back on stage, it will only be by popular demand, and only when under effective, serious and pragmatic leadership.

    In the meanwhile, should we all really content ourselves with lobbying for more girl rock and roll bands? The very idea is something Grace Potter ferociously fights against.

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