Picture this: A show with zero male musicians. Period. Not just female-fronted bands, but all-female bands. They exist, and they kick ass, but they don’t get the same attention that all-male or mostly-male bands get.
I’ve heard from some people that they just “don’t like female singers.” But there are so many more out there that you’ve never heard because the mainstream won’t show them to you! Hayley Williams and Lynn Gunn aren’t the only female vocalists out there, and there are some pretty rad female drummers and bassists you can’t forget about either.
Well someone in the Bay Area had the right idea and put together just that, a show with only all-female bands. I am in heaven.
And not just one or two bands, either. Four. I absolutely love badass female punks. They’re a pretty big weakness of mine. (Remember when I discovered Bad Cop Bad Cop?)
The show was a benefit for safe DIY spaces in the Bay Area. I’m sure everyone heard about the Ghost Ship fire. A warehouse that housed creatives burned down in Oakland a few months ago, which had the even larger consequence of jeopardizing other warehouse spaces. Housing is not super affordable here, especially for musicians and artists, so I’m all for supporting this cause. As Billie Joe so eloquently put it, “We need the freaks and weirdos.”
And here’s the thing: I didn’t even know any of that going into this show. I just knew Dog Party was headlining, and I love Dog Party. They opened for Green Day in the Fall, and I fell in love.
Dog Party is sisters Gwen and Lucy Giles out of Sacramento. Both girls are in college and playing music full time—Gwen on guitar, Lucy on drums, and both singing. And let me reiterate: They opened for Green Day.
My first stop upon arriving at Thee Parkside was the patio outside to buy some french fries. The merch table is right there, so I walked over and started talking to Dog Party’s mom. She somehow knew I was the girl her husband recognized from the Boston show while in Berkeley, and he joined later and remembered me as well. Gwen was also sitting at merch, but she sadly did not recognize me. Can’t win ’em all.
We talked for a while until my friend (and fellow Idiot) Marnie showed up, and then we all talked until showtime. I told them how I was able to score tickets to six shows on the Green Day tour (spoiler: I only successfully purchased tickets to two) and Marnie nicknamed them Mom Party and Dad Party in secret. I voted we tell them because it’s just too funny and cute not to. But we refrained and went in the venue.
Apologies for the lack of videos of the first two bands.
Los Sirenas were a little bit too screamy for me. I couldn’t understand a word out of the vocalist’s mouth, so they weren’t my favorite. (I say that but link to a video where I can completely understand her… Welp. There’s that.)
Composite was also a little bit screamy, but I enjoyed them.
“It’s so exciting being on a bill with no dudes!”
I’m with ya, girl. This is cool as shit.
I loved that Composite’s vocalist actually stopped to talk about how much we need these safe DIY spaces for both the art of it and for survival. She’s completely right. I don’t think any of the other bands really brought that up. It is a benefit show, after all, so I appreciated it.
Dirty Denim was pretty good. I was a fan. And I was liking each band that came onstage more and more, so that’s always nice.
At one point, the drummer “pulled a Courtney Love” as she called it and switched places with the vocalist to sing just one song and play guitar. Not only females, but multi-talented females at that. The best.
Marnie’s verdict was more along the lines of she enjoyed them but was distracted by the singer’s mouth. Are even fellow women predisposed to judge other women based on their looks? This is why we need to normalize all-female bands!
But I mean, maybe I’d be distracted by a beard too, I don’t know.
I just love Dog Party. Watching their set, I couldn’t get over how cute and talented they are. I want to be them when I grow up and they’re younger than me. I will never be as talented as they are at anything and they can’t even buy beer yet. Mad respect.
I’m gonna go drink some beer and wallow in a little self-pity.
Let me just talk about Lucy for a minute.
She was hyped up on caffeine and admitted it to us.
One of her cymbals broke:
“Sad end to a beautiful life.”
She totally plays drums barefoot.
HOW IS HER HAIR ALWAYS THAT VIBRANT. JEALOUS.
Okay, I’m good now.
We had a hard time hearing them sing at times, which was really unfortunate.
It’s so awesome to me that this is a family affair. Their parents travel with them and help sell merch and set up the stage. They really support their daughters’ music aspirations. I doubt many parents would do the same.
They closed with their cover of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl.” The girls from Dirty Denim ran up to the front and went nuts the whole song. It was beautiful.
Then we all cheered for an encore and they seemed to be at a loss for what to do.
So here’s the thing about discovering a band while they’re opening for another band: You learn the music, but you don’t necessarily know the song names.
This is a thing I never really thought about until the encore when they asked for requests. Marnie and I felt bad. We know the songs! We promise! Just…not the names. We’re useless.
Support local bands, support female bands, support safe DIY spaces. Support Dog Party, dude, cuz they’re awesome!