On Sunday I made one of my rare outings to a gig that I wasn’t playing. The event was Re:Dress – an evening celebrating female DIY/independent musicians. Though there was a male sound engineer and two boy drummers. Clearly ladies haven’t quite mastered that stuff yet…
It was an eclectic and excellent lineup, and I really enjoyed it (except the bits where I had to wait for Ricky in the rain for half an hour beforehand, then cycle home in the drizzle afterwards. Bloody English weather.) And I got to wear my awesome new red boots.
First up was Lobelia, a charming but slightly nervous-looking woman with a nylon-strung guitar. I have a terrible confession to make here – I’ve been to an awful lot of bad acoustic music nights in my time, and this kind of set-up usually heralds 20 minutes of excruciating, poorly-executed ballads followed by polite clapping and a charge to the bar to avoid having to make eye contact with the unfortunate whelp.
I was wrong. Oh hell, was I wrong.
She was awesome. Beautiful voice, wonderful songs and a dab hand with a backwards looper and a plastic bottle. I bought a copy of her album (from 1999 – someone’s clearly trying to shift the contents of the boxes that are cluttering up the spare room…) but haven’t had the chance to listen yet. And to top it all off, she did a fabulous sing-along cover of You Spin Me Round. Brilliant.
Next was the super-sexy Dana Jade – self-dubbed “cock rock in stiletto heels”. Smouldering in a red dress (Ricky! Stop staring!) she spat out an incredible high-energy set of blistering rock. I particularly loved her cover of MIA’s Galang, and may have even done some moshing at the back of the room. Ricky’s favourite act of the night – though that may just have been because of the dress.
German three-piece Two Tears for Barbarella came next. Unfortunately they struggled with the sound setup for the first half of their set, which was clearly throwing them a bit. But after the lead guitarist made a gutsy, good-humoured stage dive, things picked up. They had some interesting proggie-indie songs – touches of the Pixies, Lemonheads et al – and were just hitting their stride when they had to finish.
Headlining the night was Laura Kidd – aka She Makes War. I had the privilege of working with her on her upcoming album, Disarm, so it was great to hear some of the songs played live on nothing more than a ukulele, electric guitar and recalcitrant loop pedal.
Laura was completely captivating, and handled the technical fuckery with professional aplomb – I’d have probably kicked it across the stage. She’s got an amazing voice and is a serious songwriting talent. The album’s out now, so go and buy it and get your fix of riot grrl power-pop. With a little sprinkling of harp 🙂