Review by Michele Martin
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
First up, 2 Preciious, with lead vocalist Karen, the singer formerly known as Lee Aaron plus the three Dons from Sons of Freedom. Attired in tailored jacket and tie, Karen presented tunes in her strong and solid vocal style from their soon-to-be-released CD, accompanied by the recognizable SOF-style riffs.
Having seen 2 Preciious at FoxFest back in July, I found this show considerably tamer. At FoxFest, Karen belted out the songs, "Super Bitch" in particular, while on this evening, she showed restraint in merely singing her material to the relatively calm crowd. Even when she played her snazzy red guitar, Karen couldn't get much of a rise out of the subdued audience, which was more of a reflection of the audience, rather than on the music being played. She ended the set after some seven songs, including "Mascara," "Like A Falling Star," and "I'm Not That Kind of Girl," with a quick speech to the audience: "I'd like to thank everybody personally for coming out. It's a great cause and there's a lot of fucking good bands here!" Amen.
Following a brief message from the sponsors about "breast candour," which caused much giggling from the audience, the event continued with Mudgirl, fronted by female vocalist Kim Bingham, she of the poppy voice, Radio Shack t-shirt, silver pants, dread-like hair and absolutely wild Mad Hatter's hat. After the first song, Bingham pointed out to the audience, "For a lot of people, you're sure quiet." Bingham was also present at FoxFest, and this show was similar, as Mudgirl put on a hard rocking, fun to watch, great to listen to show, including tunes such as "Party Girl," "What a Drag," "Secret Garden," and the popular single, "This Day."
In third spot, locals Mollies Revenge, fronted by Yvette, she of the mini blonde mohawk and the incredible voice. Mollies Revenge produced a unique sound courtesy of Yvette's striking voice, and the ethereal strings of cellist Lisa. Playing songs off their upcoming CD, Mollies Revenge put on a stunning display showcasing their immense talents, including "Humble Girl," "Every Dirty Word," "I Want to be Your Favourite Thing" and my personal favourite, "I Like to Watch." Man oh man (or perhaps I should say "woman oh woman"), now that song is erotic and then some: "I like to watch you making love to yourself/I watch you/You watch me." The only problem I have with Mollies Revenge is that, after a while, all their songs begin to sound the same. But when what you're hearing is as splendid as what this group puts out, maybe that's not such a bad thing after all...
Towards the end of the set, Yvette made a brief but impassioned plea for the women in the audience regarding their relationship with their breasts, which seemed fitting in view of the nature of the benefit: "Check 'em, inspect 'em, and love 'em!" Couldn't have said it better myself. The only off-note was her cry for "Titty Freedom," wherein she advocated the not wearing of bras, declaring that bras were damaging. Now, for all those out there of, shall we say, less than well-endowed status, that's cool. But for those of us with ample cleavage, present company included, easier said than done!
After a brief pause, Bif Naked arrived on stage to conclude the evening's roster of female performers. As always, Naked, the human jumping bean, made her usual dramatic entrance, complete with high kicks in too tight pants (she just bought 'em and they were a little snug, so she told us). Where does that woman get her energy? I get exhausted just watching her!
In her customary enthusiastic style, Naked injected a much needed doses of liveliness to the event with her big, bold voice, and her brash but appealing stage presence, and the audience, particularly those in the pit, responded in kind. Finally, some signs of life, especially from the over-zealous bouncers who were kept busy yanking surfers unwillingly out of the rippling crowd [Rodney: They knocked one guy flat out cold -- and nearly broke his neck - by slamming him off the crowd and onto the floor. Nice job, guys! You'd think the Rage, of all places (being it used to be 86 Street), would keep a check on that sort of thing... ], and keeping back the hordes of adoring fans.
Bif Naked and her band played an assortment of material including "The Peacock Song," and "Daddy's Little Girl," and did so while displaying her vocal range. Although I personally prefer the songs where she tends to belt 'em out, many prefer the "little girl" sounds, and Naked was able to keep us all happy.
This was the third female-fronted benefit in three weeks, all of which were well-organized, well presented, and well-attended. Seems that the female musicians in Vancouver are sticking in there in a big way and refusing to be shoved aside in deference to the traditional male-fronted bands this city has to offer. About time! In any event, a great evening, and kudos to the organizers, sponsors, and performers for an evening of entertainment, enlightenment, and, above all, awareness.
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