5 Tips for Staying Safe at Gigs

(Source: VisitEngland.com)

With festival season fast approaching, it’s important to remember ways of staying safe and making sure your gig experience is as enjoyable as possible. Here are 5 tips for staying safe at gigs;

1- Make yourself aware of security and the exits. 

On your way in, have a quick glance around the venue; look for security so that in the event of anything where you may need them happening, you know exactly where to go. Also look for the nearest exit incase you feel that you need to get out to make it easier for yourself.

2- Choose a meeting point with your friends.

We all know how easy it is to lose our mates in the mosh pit. Pick a meeting point so that if you lose them, you know where to meet at the end of the gig. There’s nothing worse than trying to phone your friends in a building which usually has poor reception and trying to shout over the music to see where they are. Why not cut out the middle man and pick a place to meet to save the hassle?

3- Don’t accept drinks or drugs from strangers.

It may seem like a given but it can be easy to forget, especially in such a hot environment where all you want is a cold drink. Wait for stewards to bring round cups of water or bring your own drinks if the venue permits it. It’s worth paying the extortionate prices they charge for drinks at most venues over accepting a free but possibly spiked drink from a stranger.

4- Look out for mates.

If you see someone giving unwanted attention to a friend or anybody else at the gig, don’t be afraid to call them out for it. Check that the person looking uncomfortable is okay and warn mates of anybody who appears to be behaving inappropriately. Obviously at a standing venue, it’s almost a given that you’ll be touched by strangers but there’s a huge difference between being intentionally groped and accidentally touched.

5- Tell security or Ask for Angela

While meeting new people is one of the perks of going to gigs, you can’t always tell what their intentions are. If you begin to feel uncomfortable with the situation, let the person know. Be clear that they have overstepped a boundary. If they persist or you still feel unsafe, let security know! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling security that you feel uncomfortable and while we are often afraid to make a fuss out of situations, it is security’s job and perfectly fine to ask for their help. The Ask for Angela scheme could also be used in this situation. Asking bar staff for ‘Angela’ alerts them that you feel unsafe and they can then take the steps needed to help you out. Staff can often call a taxi for you and wait with you until it arrives in order to make you feel safe. Speak out about it; don’t suffer in silence. The only way of preventing sexual assault at gigs is by starting a conversation and letting people know that it’s unacceptable.

Obviously having fun should be at the forefront of our minds when going to gigs but it’s worth thinking about safety too. Keep these tips at the back of your mind in order to have an amazing festival season!

Written by Laura Cobham (@lauracobxx on Instagram).

The Songs I Listen to Are Misogynistic, Does That Mean I Am Too? (PART ONE)

This post is the first of a two-part series on the blog centred around the debate of whether you can still be a feminist if you listen to misogynistic music. In this article, Neive considers this  debate in relation to the indie genre.

A poster from CATB’s merch stand a few years ago.

Every strand of the music industry is encompassed by at least a degree of misogyny and the indie genre is no exception. Separating art and artist is a debate that has caused significant divide in this genre in particular, although it is often not characterised as such (which is another issue in itself), and the undeniable sexism which is at play is inexcusable. As much as it would pain me to stop listening to some of my favourite artists, I think the issue of continuing to support them boils down to the fact that by supporting them, you are indirectly supporting their views by default.

It goes beyond just lyrics it appears too, and so think that is an integral turning point for when it becomes acceptable to continue supporting such bands. It is incidents such as Catfish & The Bottlemen’s infamous merch stand poster from a few years ago, which makes you stop and consider what the bands you are listening to are really thinking. The aforementioned poster is blatant objectification, as much as it may have been intended as a joke. I think that with instances like this, there is an extent to which it is a joke, but an important factor to consider is how much the ideas and beliefs behind the joke are genuine. Of course, there is always room to reform and learn from past mistakes, and with this being a few years ago, it is completely possible that since then, the band have been educated.

At the end of the day, not everyone is automatically aware of the injustice and prejudice within our society, especially if you come from a place of social privilege. Begrudging someone the opportunity to educate themselves and overcome their internalised discriminatory attitudes is unfair. However, when no attempts are made to rectify this misogynistic mindset, I think it becomes evident that this issue is of no concern to the artist.

As a band, regardless of the size or number of fans, you are awarded with at least some level of power and obviously there are bands that use this power for good and at least try to assert a positive influence over fans who are often young, impressionable and vulnerable. Despite this, it is integral to acknowledge the artists who abuse this power and take advantage of their audiences.

It is bands like Misfires and Mooseblood, who have been publicly condemned and accused of using their status to sexually harass and take advantage of their fans. Yet still, there are some fans continuing to support them, and festivals continuing to book these artists, and here in lies the issue. By providing continual support despite their actions, you are ultimately funding their pursuits and allowing their career to flourish.

This could be detrimental- allowing them to have influence and power over an even wider audience and showing they can just behave in this manner without any backlash is completely wrong. I think in cases like these, separating art and artist is not possible. An artist’s personal life and beliefs have such a significant impact on their art, and thus their misogyny and art are intertwined. Therefore, supporting these artists extends to supporting their misogyny and so it is imperative we do not separate the two and instead actively criticise their views and prompt a change by showing acting in this manner is unacceptable.

Written by Neive McCarthy (@neiveeee on Twitter).

Upskirting: In Conversation with Gina Martin

Upskirting is taking unauthorised photographs under a skirt therefore capturing an image of crotch area, underwear or genitalia. Sometimes these images can be taken and can get shared around on various websites; this has always been an issue but recently it has been bought to light over laws and social attitudes.

There have been many cases where photos have been taken unknowingly and have become sexualised by people posting them onto porn sites. There are often cases where these images are involving  victims who are minors or people who can be clearly recognised, this raises issues of privacy and reputation.

Upskirting photos can be taken easily, for instance, when you are walking up and down stairs. It is often very hard to know if someone has taken an upskirt photo of you unless you see them take it or find it on various websites, this is because the cameras are normally hidden.

At the moment, there is no law in the UK specifically naming upskirting. However, Scotland created specific legislation against the crime of upskirting in 2009. In Britain, victims and police are currently only able to pursue offences under the two current laws which are voyeurism and outraging public decency.

Voyeurism: This only applies in a private place (at home, in a changing room etc) where the victim has a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ so, if you are in a public place voyeurism cannot be used.

Outraging Public Decency: A 100 year old public-order law which protects the public from having to see anything lewd (this is often used to prosecute urinating in public etc). It does not recognise upskirting as a crime with a victim. Prosecuting under this law, the assault must meet a series of ‘rules’- e.g. two or more people had to be there to see it happen- so it is notoriously difficult/often impossible to charge with it because it is so outdated and unfit for purpose.

As you can see it can be hard to prosecute under these two current laws as there are limitations to both laws but upskirt photos can technically be prosecuted so the aim is to make upskirt photos a specific crime.

Gina Martin has started a campaign to make upskirt photos a specific crime after being a victim at a music festival. She reported the incident to the security at the festival who then passed it on to the police. Only five days later she received a phone call from the Met police to say the case was closed and “there’s not much we can do” because “it’s not a graphic image”. Her petition currently has 82,000 supporters and 7 months ago the Met police reopened her case. I was lucky enough to interview Gina:

What inspired you to start a campaign?

I had upskirt photos taken of me at a festival by guys who wouldn’t allow me to reject their advances. It was humiliating, and after handing the phone, picture and guy over to the police they said there wasn’t much they could do.

What advice would you give to anyone who has been a victim of Upskirting?

I would tell them to tell the people around them, to get the evidence if they can and to think logically – e.g they will have to fight for people to listen due to this grey area. On the other hand, it won’t be long until I change that, so hopefully, it won’t be so hard to prosecute in the future.

Why do you think the issue of Upskirting isn’t commonly spoken about?

It’s a very secretive assault. Many women don’t know it’s happened to them. But more importantly, I don’t think women feel comfortable speaking up about something they know they’re not supported about. The law doesn’t currently support all women who are upskirted, so why would they speak out about it? It’s also true that as women we’re taught that assault and harassment is ‘just part of being a woman’. It shouldn’t be.

What are your aims for the campaign?

We are going to change the law so that all victims can be prosecute effectively.

How can more people get involved with raising awareness about Upskirting?

You can sign my petition on Care2. Just type in ‘Gina Martin’. But if there are any writers, journalists, speakers, lawyers, academics, authorities – anyone out there who could lend their voice to the cause, please get in touch! We already have in incredible team and support from MPs across all parties, academics and lawyers have all agreed this needs to be changed. But the more that lend themselves to the cause, the quicker it will happen.

Overall there are a lot of things that need to change regarding Upskirting from the laws surrounding the issue to social attitudes. Even though this may take time it is important to keep fighting and speaking out eventually people will listen and things will change for the better.

Written by Alice Dunham (@alicerosedunham on Twitter.)

Kesha: A Feminist Figure We Should All Be Praising

Her show stopping performance at the 60th annual Grammy awards was a powerful call to action as she was flanked by an army of incredible women at the 60th annual Grammy award show. Her first major success came in early 2009 after she featured on American rapper Flo Rida’s number-one single ‘Right Round’. In 2005, Kesha Rose was signed to Dr. Luke’s label, Kemosabe Entertainment, and his music publishing company, Prescription Songs.

Kesha’s unpolished aesthetic and juvenile stage persona, which she described as her own personality “times ten”, quickly made her a deeply polarizing figure. What seemed to start off as a great career was later harmed by Dr Luke’s alleged verbal and sexual abuse towards her. This brought her career into a drought and her tears flowed like the rain.

Kesha had always been a strong woman. Whether she was praising cunnilingus in her breakout single ‘Right Round’ with Flo Rida, or subverting gender roles in ‘Blah Blah Blah’, her lyrics are rife with references to female sexual freedom.Today, Kesha is a force to reckon with and a feminist idol. Kesha has been one of the prime supporters of the widely known #MeToo movement which aims to put an end to sexual abuse, in Hollywood and beyond.

Despite the isolating experience dealing with lengthy court proceedings while coping with emotional trauma, Kesha rose above it all and poured out her heart into her Grammy nominated album—’Rainbows’. Her inspiring album, which was a cathartic response to her legal battle and the pain she felt, has been a source of inspiration to many females around the world. With her words, she healed the pain of wounds inflected by men on thousands of women, soothing them with her voice. Rainbow was released before the #MeToo and #TimeIsUp movement but has correlated with the beginning of a reckoning for sexism, misogyny and abuse of power.

Kesha’s public support of #MeToo is particularly poignant after years locked in a legal battle with her former producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and his Sony imprint Kemosabe. Kesha went through a brutally public court battle in 2016 when she was trying to get free of her contract with Sony that bound her to working with Dr. Luke, the producer who she accused of sexual assault. She lost her case and the internet came rushing to her support with the hashtag #FreeKesha. That was the beginning of awareness in the entertainment industry. She persevered through it all, setting an inspiring example for women who are also trying to overcome abuse.The bitter and protracted fight has made Kesha a hero to survivors of abuse. Kesha put her entire career on the line in her fight to free herself from her alleged abuser. Looking at it figuratively, Kesha put everything she had on the line in her fight to free all women bound by the chains of sexist men.

Women aren’t in any industry to be taken advantage of, women are strong, hard working and goal oriented. Over the years women have been made to seem like the lesser gender. However, never undermine the power of a woman. Undermining the power of a woman is undermining the power of a mother, a wife, a sister, a leader, an innovator, a role model and a human being.

In Kesha’s essay celebrating her feminist anthem ‘Woman’ She stated “In the past few years, i have felt like a woman more than ever. I just feel the strength and awesomeness and power of being female.” Indeed, Kesha Rose is a feminist figure we should all praise.

 

Written by Tommy Monroe (@TommyMonroe_ on Twitter).

Women In Rock- A Response To The Exclusion Of Those Who Are Shaping The Genre

Here we have the second post of a two-part instalment responding to a pub who banned female fronted bands. The first post portrays how ridiculous this is by considering the history of woman in rock music and this post does the same thing but by considering current women within the music industry…

http://girlsagainst.org.uk/2018/02/12/women-of-modern-rock-edith-gervin/

A pub in Glasgow that made the headlines recently. The pub has banned female fronted bands from performing there, their simple reason being that, ‘women can’t sing rock’ and the pub’s regular clientele will not give the band a chance if there is a female singer. Upon reading comments surrounding this incident I am surprised to see many opinions in favour of this sexism.

This attitude is one I see frequently littered across my social media. “It’s not sexist that Leeds Fest/Reading/T etc have no female artists on the line-up. It’s because there are NO good female artists!” The music industry is always seen as a ‘man’s world’. In classic rock we have The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. In soul and Motown we have James Brown and Marvin Gaye. In indie rock we have Oasis, Blur, The Smiths, New Order and Joy Division. We have icons like Elvis and Prince and Bowie to name but a few. Even in modern times we have Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and The Libertines. I can understand the ease in which people are able to forget about female performers, as men are at the forefront of the industry.

However, looking back in history, some of the greatest musicians of all time were female. Women like Billie Holiday, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Joan Jett Stevie Nicks, Amy Winehouse, Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Janis Joplin, Joan Jett and Tina Turner (to name a small few) are key in the history of music and are seen as icons of their field.

Currently, females in the music industry are on their way to do the same. The rock scene is thriving, with groups like HAIM, The Big Moon, Black Honey and Wolf Alice showing that there is a place for women in the industry. These women play instruments, write their own music and attract fans of both genders. Artists like Dua Lipa, Charli XCX and Lily Allen are the same, releasing music with messages of female empowerment, discussing issues that we women face. Their music is relatable and refreshing yet still technical and complex musically.

The 1975’s Matty Healy spoke of how inspired he was by 60s girl groups, like The Crystals. Boy George discussed in an article of Kate Bush’s influence on punk and how she changed the music industry forever. The sounds of Blondie can be heard in the music of R.E.M, John Legend’s soul is influenced by the great Nina Simone. We see the influence of women in so much of the male-fronted music we know and love.

The balance is slowly shifting in the music industry with the arrival of new female artists and rock bands. In the meantime, it is vital we look back at female musicians and give them the appreciation and recognition they deserve.

And to that pub, in the words of Lily Allen, “F you very, very much”.

References:

  1. http://teamrock.com/news/2017-12-08/anger-as-english-pub-bans-female-fronted-bands
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jul/21/pops-glass-ceiling-why-new-female-stars-cant-break-through
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLEC839ar3A
  4. https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/music/why-we-love-kate-bush-by-the-musicians-shes-influenced-9670978.html
  5. https://www.gigwise.com/photos/101433/debbie-harry-70th-birthday—artists-inspired-by-blondie—garbage

 

Written by Madeline Rose Healey.

The Ones to Read: February 2018

Here is this month’s list of recommended reading – the best writing on women, gender, music, and art from all over the internet.

Compared to January, where big headlines and the #MeToo movement abounded, there have been fewer big news-based stories concerning gender rights in the entertainment industries. Instead, some of the most exciting writing comes in the form of interviews with artists whose next albums we eagerly await, including Janelle Monáe and Courtney Barnett, and reviews of other cultural releases, such as journalist Dolly Alderton’s memoir Everything I Know About Love, food writer Ruby Tandoh’s glorious ode to eating for happiness, Eat Up!, and the Greta Gerwig-directed and Oscar-nominated film Lady Bird.

The last few days have seen some wonderful news, though: 45 international festivals have committed to having a 50/50 gender balance on their line-ups by 2022. Here’s hoping.

 

  • Everything I Know About Love is a shockingly intimate memoir from former sex columnist Dolly Alderton

Julie Burchill, New Statesman, 13 February 2018

https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2018/02/everything-i-know-about-love-shockingly-intimate-memoir-former-sex-columnist

 

  • Courtney Barnett Talks About Taking on Misogyny and Self-Doubt With Her New Album 

Devon Maloney, Pitchfork, 15 February 2018

https://pitchfork.com/features/interview/courtney-barnett-talks-about-taking-on-misogyny-and-self-doubt-with-her-new-album/

 

  • The Grammys Need to Accept That They Have a Woman Problem

Lauren O’Neill, Noisey, 16 February 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/8xd5dz/the-grammys-need-to-shut-up-and-accept-they-have-a-woman-problem

 

  • I’m Not With Her: “We’re about camaraderie, not Hillary”

Emma John, Guardian, 18 February 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/feb/18/im-with-her-band-interview-bluegrass-music-aoife-odonovan-sara-watkins-sarah-jarosz

 

  • Rihanna Is 30 So Now I Want to Be 30 Too

Lauren O’Neill, Noisey, 21 February 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/zmwqb8/rihanna-is-30-so-now-i-want-to-be-30-too

 

  • The revolution is here – and young women are leading the change

Leonie Cooper, NME, 23 February 2018

http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/2247565-2247565

 

  • Janelle Monáe Steps Into Her Bisexual Lighting

Sasha Geffen, Vulture, 23 February 2018

http://www.vulture.com/2018/02/janelle-mone-steps-into-her-bisexual-lighting.html

  • “Going viral taught me that scepticism is another schism between the sexes”

Moya Lothian-McLean, 23 Feb

ruary, Stylist

https://www.stylist.co.uk/long-reads/viral-kebab-photos-sexism-cynical-men-women-online-troll/191903

 

  • ‘Black Panther’ Was Great Because of Women, But Its Soundtrack Sidelined Them

Kristin Corry, Noisey, 23 February 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/qveew7/black-panther-soundtrack-movie-review

 

  • ‘The world is infested with evil!’ When Kathy Acker met the Spice Girls

Hayley Campbell and Kathy Acker, Guardian. 26 February 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/feb/26/when-kathy-acker-met-the-spice-girls

 

  • BBC Proms among 45 festivals committing to 50/50 gender balance

Laura Harding, Independent, 26 February

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/bbc-proms-among-45-festivals-committing-to-5050-gender-balance-36643652.html

 

  • ‘Lady Bird’ Shows That It’s Ok for Women to Be Hungry

Ruby Lott-Lavigna, Munchies, 26 February

https://munchies.vice.com/en_uk/article/j5ba9b/lady-bird-shows-that-its-ok-for-women-to-be-hungry?utm_campaign=global&utm_source=vicefbuk

 

And, finally, something to listen to:

  • Dolly Alderton’s Love Stories, with Ruby Tandoh

 

Written by Ellen Peirson-Hagger (@ellen_cph on Twitter).

The Importance of Intersectional Feminism

When promoting her autobiography Brave earlier this year, Rose McGowan was confronted by a transgender woman, who accused her of being a ‘white cis feminist’, following her comment on RuPaul’s What’s The Tee? Podcast, where she stated “That’s [feeling like a woman on the inside] not growing as a woman, that’s not living in this world as a woman and a lot of the stuff I hear trans [women] complaining about, yeah, welcome to the world.”

These comments are undeniably transphobic and unacceptable and McGowan has a history of making offensive remarks such as these ones . She has previously stated that Caitlyn Jenner “doesn’t understand” being female and claimed “I have an indictment of the gay community right now…gay men are as misogynistic as straight men”. Considering that she is a public figure who has the ability to influence the masses, these comments are beyond irresponsible.

The woman who called out Rose was escorted out of the event, whilst she continued to chant ‘white cis feminism’. Girls Against wants to address and respond to this incident in explaining the importance of intersectional feminism.

The term ‘intersectional feminism’ was first used by civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. Whilst studying to become a lawyer, she noticed that gender and race were perceived as two separate issues. She believed that studying them in isolation made no sense. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines intersectionality as “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect”. So, to put it simply, intersectional feminism recognises that the discrimination women face does not exist in one bubble – different kind of prejudice can be amplified in different ways when combined. Thus recognising, with regards to this situation, that the prejudice and discrimination a transgender woman might face is undoubtedly different to the prejudice and discrimination that a white-cis woman would is extremely important.

To assume that feminism is only for white, cis-gendered women is wounding to the movement itself and feminism that promotes this idea is not really feminism at all. Akilah Hughes, also known as Akilah Obviously on YouTube, has created a great video that explains intersectionality in the form of pizza – it is well worth a watch!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgK3NFvGp58&feature=youtu.be

Laverne Cox, who considers herself a feminist demonstrated how important it is that feminism is inclusive and for everybody, “I think the trans movement and the LGBT movement in general really has to be a social justice movement where we look at issues of race and class and xenophobia in general”.

Another example of someone who has wonderfully demonstrated the need for intersectional feminism is sixteen-year-old Rowan Blanchard who wrote an essay on the topic:

“White feminism” forgets all about intersectional feminism. The way a black woman experiences sexism and inequality is different from the way a white woman experiences sexism and inequality. Likewise with trans-women and Hispanic women. While white women are making 78 cents to the dollar, Native American women are making 65 cents, black women are making 64 cents, and Hispanic women are making 54 cents. Kimberlé Crenshaw said it perfectly in 1989 when she said “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”

What I have (very briefly) discussed about the importance of intersectional feminism reinforces that feminism is not feminism if it is not for all. Girls Against truly believes in this and as a campaign we are always here for everyone.

 

Written By Megan Ryder-Maki (@ixxmcmxl on Twitter.)

‘Someone Out There’- Rae Morris Album Review

‘Someone Out There’ is the sophomore album from the ridiculously talented Rae Morris. On this new album, Morris has expanded her sonic horizons and ventured into new areas of production, creating a record that is ambitious and adventurous, whilst retaining some of the character that attracted fans to her debut album ‘Unguarded’.

Opening with ‘Push Me To My Limit’, Morris’ vocals are pushed right to the forefront, sounding better than ever. This track builds and builds before slowly fading out. After this point, the album could take one of two directions. It could’ve stayed in the lane of her debut and continued with more piano ballads, but instead, we are launched into ‘Reborn’ – the first single lifted from ‘Someone Out There’, which Morris described as “a sort of Europop banger”. She’s not mistaken, the track delivers the emotional depth of a typical Rae Morris song through its lyrics, but introduces us to a more pop direction with its electronic production and catchy chorus. The song has a positive message of self-reinvention and being content with the possibility of changing as a person.

Following this, ‘Do It’ is (arguably) one of the best tracks released in 2017 and in my opinion, should’ve been at least a Top 5 single on the charts. But alas, we live in a world of great injustice… It also has a positive message, encouraging people to try new things and pursue their gut instinct.

Before listening to the full album, I was slightly concerned that it would not be able to live up to the hype created by the singles, but ‘Dip My Toe’ is the first of many tracks on the latter half of the album which proved me wrong. It’s an infectiously catchy song about experimentation, the excitement of being single and finding a new relationship and the production is absolutely stellar.

Morris is particularly proud of the production on the album’s penultimate track ‘Rose Garden’, which is the most experimental song she has ever released. She also stated in a Twitter Q&A that it is “very special and particularly moving” for her to listen to and told fans that she intends to explore this new avenue of electronic production on future releases.

The album closes with my favourite track, ‘Dancing With Character’, which tells the tale of an elderly couple who used to go dancing together. The husband lost his wife, but the song tells us that he continues to go dancing without her, retracing their steps. It showcases the beauty of love, how we remain connected to those we have lost through things as simple as movement. The song closes in a beautiful moment that sounds just like an Elton John track, a gorgeous ending to an emotional rollercoaster of an album.

All in all, this record is totally stunning and is definitely a contender for the ‘Best of 2018’ lists. If you’re a fan of Björk, Kate Bush or Grimes, then you’ll probably adore this record as much as I do. This album isn’t a grower, it’s one you fall head over heels in love with upon first listen.

 

Written by Conor Giblin (@conorjgiblin on Twitter.)

How Anteros are Empowering The Girls at The Front

Photo taken by Harriet Brown (hatphoto.co.uk).

Empowerment through music is such an amazing and important thing, especially for girls. Anteros, an indie rock band from London who formed in 2014, proved the importance of this at their show at Jimmy’s in Manchester on Sunday 4th February.

Ready to spend my, usually chilled and centred around going to bed early, Sunday night singing and dancing away to the music of Anteros, I headed to Jimmy’s in the heart of the Northen Quarter of Manchester. Anteros were playing in this venue as part of Jimmy’s Independent Venue Week gigs and, although I didn’t attend any of the other shows, I feel like this energy-filled show was the perfect way to end this celebration of live music in unique venues.

The band were really friendly, making their way on to the stage by way of the crowd, chatting and hugging members of the audience on their way there. But as soon as the music started they were transformed into something out of  a music video; their performance started as soon as they stepped on to the stage.

Laura, the lead singer, especially was incredibly confident and entertaining. I was genuinely shocked at how amazing her voice sounds live and this accompanied by her energy-filled dancing made for an amazing performance. Her engagement with the audience was also really nice to see, holding her hands out to girls on the front row and putting her arms round them whilst allowing them to sing the songs together.

I turned to my friend at one point and told her ‘It’s amazing how much confidence she has, I’d never be able to get up on stage and do that!’ I’ve always admired women in bands who are so comfortable on the stage and entertain the audience effortlessly by completely allowing themselves to let loose and be who they are. Whether its Izzy from Black Honey, Rakel in Dream Wife or Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, I always feel so empowered after watching women in bands perform and Laura’s performance was no different!

Towards the end of the gig, Laura spoke directly to the audience about her experience of lacking in self-confidence throughout her life and the troubles constantly comparing herself to the girls and women around her have caused. After assuring the audience that she now accepts and loves herself for who she is, she invited all of the girls in the audience onto the stage to dance with her to ‘Bonnie’, a song she wrote with the hopes of empowering the women listening to it.

Being on the stage and dancing around with all the other girls was SO empowering. After telling my friend minutes earlier that I’d never be able to get on the stage and be myself, there I was without a care in the world ‘dancing in the middle’, as the song lyrics go.

It made me realise how important it is for musicians to empower girls of all ages, but especially young girls, to be themselves and love themselves for who they are. Laura inviting us up on stage on Sunday night might have made even one girl realise that being in a band or creating music is what she what she really wants to do. Or made another girl who was feeling bad about herself regain confidence and feel empowered. It certainly kickstarted my week in a really positive way.

This encouragement is also vital within the indie/rock music scene, a scene that is dominated by male artists. Young girls who are just getting into this type of music and go straight for the ‘big bands’ will find themselves with little other choice than to listen to music by white male artists, providing them with little to look up to in terms of relatable role models. And although most of the music I listen to is by female-led indie/alternative/rock bands, most/all of them do not get the attention they deserve. This is a problem throughout the entirety of the music industry, as illustrated by some of this years festival line ups that are lacking completely in all aspects diversity (read our post on the Wireless line up here) and one that will not be solved overnight. However empowering girls and women to ‘pick up a guitar’ (as the saying goes), start a band or even just get involved with the music industry is such an important step in moving towards a more diverse community within music and actions like Laura’s really do make all the difference.

Girls supporting girls and women supporting women is SO important. Watching Anteros play on Sunday night reminded me to always support the women in my life in whatever they’re doing and I hope the smiling faces of all the girls on the stage had this same effect on everyone else at the gig too.

If you have the chance to see Anteros live, take it! This was my first time seeing them live and I had such a fun night. The band’s interaction with each other is incredible to watch and Laura is seriously cool- her voice and overall stage presence will have you captivated from the minute the show starts.

 

Written by Alice Porter (@aliceporterx on Twitter.)

The Ones To Read: January 2018

(TW: frequent mention of sexual assault, harassment).

From the Grammys to the #MeToo movement, and Vogue to Wireless, talk of sexism and sexual harassment continue to saturate media observations. Business and political leaders swan around at men-only parties where hostesses are assaulted, prominent media figures continue to be publicly and disgustingly sexist, and festival organisers still think it’s acceptable to announce line-ups with little to no non-male performers. Welcome to 2018.

But everyone is speaking out and listening up a little more than ever before, and particular corners of the internet are excelling as places to shut down sexism, give voices to those often marginalised, and become treasure chests full of feminist thought and solidarity.

Here’s a list of January’s best writing on music, the arts, sexism, and feminism:

  • Charli XCX’s ‘Pop 2’ Subverts Everything About Music for the Masses

Lauren O’Neill, Noisey, 4 January 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/vby33m/charli-xcx-pop-2-ag-cook-adorno-cultural-industry

 

  • Paris Lees: What it feels like to be the first openly trans woman featured in British Vogue

Paris Lees, The i, 5 January 2018

https://inews.co.uk/opinion/paris-lees-feels-like-first-openly-trans-woman-featured-british-vogue/

 

  • Women Open Up About Wearing Black on the Golden Globes Red Carpet

Erica Gonzales, Harpers Bazaar, 8 January 2018

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/red-carpet-dresses/a14773793/celebrities-wearing-black-golden-globes-quotes-2018/

 

  • Magic and Echoes: How Music Helps Me Write

Hermione Hoby, Catapult, 9 January 2018

https://catapult.co/stories/magic-and-echoes-how-music-helps-me-write

 

  • A Definitive List of Sexist Things John Humphrys has Said

Media Mole, New Statesman, 12 January 2018

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/media/2018/01/definitive-list-sexist-things-john-humphrys-has-said

 

  • The poorly reported Aziz Ansari exposé was a missed opportunity

Jill Filipovic, The Guardian, 16 January 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/16/aziz-ansari-story-missed-opportunity?CMP=twt_gu&__twitter_impression=true

 

  • From Blurred Lines to New Rules: how sex in pop has changed for ever

Laura Snapes, The Guardian, 18 January 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jan/18/from-blurred-lines-to-new-rules-how-sex-in-pop-has-changed-for-ever

 

  • Lorde on the Historic 2018 Grammys, the #MeToo Movement & Loving Cardi B

Brooke Mazurek, Billboard, 19 January 2018

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/grammys/8094826/lorde-billboard-cover-story-grammy-2018

 

  • An Oprah candidacy is not the change we need.

Henna Shah, Gal Dem, 20 January 2018

http://www.gal-dem.com/oprah-candidacy-not-change-need/

 

  • Men Only: Inside the charity fundraiser where hostesses are put on show.

Madison Marriage, The Financial Times, 23 January 2018

https://www.ft.com/content/075d679e-0033-11e8-9650-9c0ad2d7c5b5

 

  • Seven women that should be on the Wireless lineup.

Kemi Alemoru and Selim Bulut, Dazed, 24 January 2018

http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/38781/1/seven-women-that-should-be-on-the-wireless-lineup

 

  • After the suffragettes: how women stormed Westminster.

Helen Lewis, New Statesman, 25 January 2018

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/01/after-suffragettes-how-women-stormed-westminster

 

  • The 2018 Grammys Shut Women Out.

Lauren O’Neill, Noisey, 29 January 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/3k5g9b/the-2018-grammys-shut-women-out

 

  • Kesha’s cathartic performance was the purest Grammys moment ever.

Aimee Cliff, Dazed, 29 January 2018

http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/38823/1/kesha-praying-performance-grammys-2018

 

  • We’re Not Done Here.

Laurie Penny, Long Reads, January 2018

https://longreads.com/2018/01/18/were-not-done-here/

Written by Ellen Peirson-Hagger (@ellen_cph on Twitter).