LIVE: Bitch @ Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, 13.04.2022

Fresh from the release of her epic latest album Bitchcraft – which was released via legendary label Kill Rock Stars earlier this year -, queer electro-pop artist Bitch has taken up a weekly residency at New York’s infamous Rockwood Music Hall. And I’m extremely excited that this coincides with my first ever trip to the Big Apple, and I get to witness this magnificent multi-disciplinary show.

Celebrating the album, which has apparently been eight years in the making, as Bitch takes to the stage in the intimate basement venue, she exudes a magnetising vibrant charisma and infectious joyous energy. Introducing the show as “a little jaunt through my herstory“, dedicated to dear Mother Earth and our on-going battle against capitalism, she kicks things off with the fizzing electro soundscape and catchy, whirring drive of ‘Hello Meadow’. Captivating the crowd with her quirky charm and the swirling musicality of sweeping electronic violin crescendos, each of us are instantly utterly immersed in this theatrical performance, singing along to the chorus and whooping in appreciation of Bitch’s exuberant power.

As Bitch notes down her thoughts with a giant pencil, the performance starts to take on an other-worldly aura; wonderfully blurring the lines between musical performance, stand-up comedy and poignant spoken word. Going on to animatedly share with us details about her childhood, with her boomer/tap-dancing teacher mother and angry father, Bitch proves herself to be the most bewitching of raconteurs – describing how, in a world that makes women and girls feel small, the violin became her voice and she felt able to begin the journey of liberating herself from the ties of a patriarchal society.

As we all unite in the joy of empowering anthems such as ‘You’re The Man’, Bitch emanates her colourful eccentricity, casting us under her spell as we delight in the effervescent power of her unique witch – or indeed Bitch – craft. Whether she’s wowing us with her immense keytar skills, the soaring prowess of the violin, or merely her deeply stirring words, it’s clear that we’re sharing in something truly special by being here – a rapturous call to feel free to be ourselves and fight against the misogynist norms of society.

Reflecting on one of these sexist tropes that has become ingrained in our thinking, Bitch points out that words are often used in a derogatory way against women: a prime example of this being the use of ‘Pussy’ to mean weak or inferior. She invites us to reclaim the word and use it in a positive way – and so we are introduced to her ‘Pussy Manifesto’, an empowering chant that she first shared whilst on tour (alongside partner Animal) with Ani DiFranco in 1998. As we all join in with the frenzied, driving force of each of the “mother-f***ing” manifestations – being reminded of all the ways in which the pussy is magical – a vibrant, euphoric energy fills the room, guided by Bitch’s affirming spirit.

From all too resonant reflections on climate change and our need to protect Mother Nature (‘Polar Bear’), to dedications to long-suffering women everywhere – particularly those of Texas, Oklahoma and Afghanistan – as she recognises that “the witch hunts never stopped” (‘Easy Target’), Bitch showcases her utterly unique knack for highlighting necessary, poignant subject-matter in a beautifully resplendent and delightfully accessible way.

Moving on to some more personal reflections about how she “fell off her broomstick for a while“, Bitch reminds us that it’s okay to not to be okay sometimes – to take time out from the world and focus on recuperating ourselves. Visualising the metaphor of building herself back up through a time of healing by putting together her magnificent bedazzling broomstick piece by piece, she then aurally delivers the sentiment with the sweeping soundscapes of ‘Fallen Witch 2’; a track that glitters with a life-affirming majesty.

And, with her sparkling broomstick now completely built, it’s time for Bitch to close this hour of the most empowering, enlightening shared experiences. Closing the set with soulful latest single ‘Pages’, she shares with her fellow witches the positive affirmations to “keep writing” and to “let pussy manifest and freedom sing“, and I’m left feeling truly revived and motivated; basking in Bitch’s spellbinding, vivacious energy and the queer, euphoric joy that has filled the room.

A truly magical evening. And one that I urge you to witness too, should Bitch’s wonderfully wacky witchery ever come your way.

Bitch’s latest album, Bitchcraft, is out now via Kill Rock Stars.

Mari Lane

Introducing Interview: BITCH

With her epic new album, Bitchcraft, released today via legendary label Kill Rock Stars, queer electro-pop artist Bitch prides herself on being “like Joni Mitchell set to a click track… It’s neon pink, in your face, ready to hex you with its brilliance.” Having shared stages with the likes of Ani DiFranco and Indigo Girls, Bitch has now moved from the hustle and bustle of New York City to a log cabin in the woods, where she’s found time to properly delve into her art and write the songs for the new album.

Fusing together a driving, gritty energy and sizzling synths, alongside soulful, emotion-strewn vocals, we’re huge fans of the empowering sounds of Bitch and the poignant messages reflected in her writing. So, we caught up with her to find out more about the album, what inspires her, her thoughts on the music industry today and what’s next for Bitch…

Hi Bitch! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi!  Thank you so much!  I’m a violinist, singer, poet and popstress. I love to wear wild clothes and express myself visually as well as sonically.  

Are you able to tell us a bit about how you initially started creating music?
I grew up tap dancing since I was three (my Mom ran a tap dancing school in our basement). I saw the violin on Sesame Street when I was four and begged my parents for one, and have played ever since. I was a very shy kid, but looked up to very wild and performative artists, like Prince and Cyndi Lauper. I started writing poetry at age eleven, and at some point my musical world collided with my lyrical world and I started writing my own songs. 

I love the fizzing electro-punk energy of your tracks, but who would you say are your main musical influences? 
Thank you!  For this album, I would say early Sinead O’Connor, early Cyndi Lauper, Peaches, and Imogen Heap. 

Your wonderfully titled album Bitchcraft is out today! Are you able to tell us a bit about it? Are there any particular themes running throughout the album?
I’m super excited about Bitchcraft and can’t believe it took me nine albums to find an album title that is so PERFECT! Bitchcraft definitely has themes of climate change, being a woman in this male-dominated world, and good old-fashioned heartbreak. 

Do you have a favourite track on the album? And if so, why?
Lately, my favourite track is ‘Pages’. I think it’s because I re-wrote it, after I chose it for the album. I really crafted it – I pushed myself to a new place on a writing level and I still get excited when I hear it. 

How have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times?
A lot of work, and also very joyous.  I feel like a lot of us realized during the pandemic how much we need art. So I have felt the process of it has been very celebrated by my friends, family and fans in a way that I have not felt before. 

How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And, as a queer artist, do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and LGBTQIA+ artists?
I can’t imagine being a new artist now, in the days of streaming and social media. I feel so lucky that I had the life experience of being a road dog, gaining fans by coming through their towns and giving them a good show. I do think things have changed for queerness in music lately. I have always been an out musician, but it feels way more accepted and normalized now and, dare I say, even sometimes an advantage? I still feel like women in music are subject to a TONNE of misogyny, within the gay community too, and it feels like there is still so much work to be done in giving women the spotlight, the mic, more women on lineups, etc. If I had a nickel for queer events that have NO women on the line-up I’d be as rich as Oprah. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
I love my label mate Logan Lynn’s new album! Also: Be Steadwell, Shaylee, Tubafresh, Ry Lucia, Gustaf.  

In addition to the album release, what does the rest of the year have in store for Bitch?
I will be touring all year, have written a one-woman show of sorts. And will hopefully be planning a trip to the UK – my family is there and I love touring there!!

Bitchcraft, the new album from Bitch, is out now via Kill Rock Stars.

Photo Credit: Dana Lynn Pleasant