GUIDE & PLAYLIST: Decolonise Fest 2022

Event: Decolonise Fest

Where: Signature Brew Haggerston, London

When: Friday 16th – Sunday 18th September 2022

Tickets: Full Weekend ticket: from £31 / Day tickets: from £15.50 / Click here for info on affordable ticket schemes

General Info: Decolonise Fest – the UK’s only DIY punk festival created by and for people of colour – was founded in 2017 to provide a much-needed space for punks of colour from across the world to come together and celebrate the multiplicity of their identities, and acknowledge the influence people of colour have had on punk and alternative music genres. While the festival focuses on people of colour, white allies are welcome to attend.

Now celebrating its fifth year, Decolonise Fest have put together another eclectic line-up to showcase and celebrate the talent of underground punks of colour. This edition is the festival’s first in-person event since 2019, after it had to adapt to an online event during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival will also feature music-related panels and activities, including workshops on the Black history of the banjo, reproductive justice, how to make your own modular synths, and more. For more information on these events, visit the official website

Who’s Playing: Grove, BISHI, Racehl Aggs, Gurnal Gadafi, Fraulein, Miss Jacqui, Breakup Haircut, Passionflower, Break Fate, Marigold Spitfire, incaseyouleave, Dystopia, Swaraj Chronos, Spirit Sigh and Currls.

Who GIHE recommend you catch: We’re already big fans of grunge duo Fraulein, DIY punks Breakup Haircut, multi-talented musician BISHI, the amazing Rachel Aggs and garage rock trio CURRLS, so make sure you catch their sets. We’ve heard great things about Grove, Miss Jacqui, Spirit Sigh and Dystopia too!

Check out our Decolonise Festival Spotify Playlist below, featuring some of the line-up

 

Artists not on Spotify also playing Decolonise Fest:

 Gurnal GadafiRachel AggsMarigold Spitfire Spirit Sigh | Swaraj Chronos

 

Follow Decolonise Fest on TwitterFacebookInstagram

 

 

 

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Shacklewell Arms w/ ARXX, 22.07.22

For our second gig of the month, following our emotional farewell to DIY pioneers Charmpit a few weeks ago, we returned to The Shacklewell Arms to host long-term faves ARXX! Support came from incredible up-and-coming duo Fräulein and fierce new band Lusa Morena. It was truly an honour to host three such exciting bands – it was such a beautiful night filled with not only immense music blasting from the stage, but all the nicest vibes and loveliest people. And to sell out the night was a dream come true – we’ve raised another £300 for vital organisation Abortion Support Network, so huge thanks to all who came along!

I’m struggling to put into words just how wonderful the night was, but I’ve written a few sentences to accompany some fab photos, courtesy of Harry Levin…

Opening the night is Portuguese, London-based band Lusa Morena. Blasting out an immense, swirling energy as impressive relentless riffs roll out alongside front woman Bárbara’s immersive charisma, they cement themselves as definite ones to watch.

Next up, one of the most exciting bands around – duo Joni and Karsten, aka Fräulein – deliver an utterly impressive set. Having headlined for us at The Victoria back in January, it’s wonderful to have them play for us again delivering their gritty grunge-fuelled anthems. I’ve seen Fräulein live a few times now, and each time is even more incredible than the last – as Karsten’s frenzied pummelling beats accompany Joni’s raw, impassioned vocals and swirling hooks, they really are a truly unique, captivating force to be reckoned with. It’s also particularly lovely to have them on the same bill as ARXX, as I first fell in love with them a couple of years back at an online festival that Hanni curated.

To top off the dreamiest of line-ups, total long-term faves ARXX take to the stage to Shania Twain’s ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’. And then Hanni and Clara blast into our eyes and ears with that perfect balance of raucous energy and joyous charm that we’ve come to know and love over the years. As they treat us to an eclectic set, offering some of their more poppy recent releases alongside the grungey edge of some of their older songs, they fill The Shacklewell Arms with a euphoric sea of admiring fans – smiling and singing along in blissful unity. New or old, each track is delivered with the duo’s trademark colossal anthemic musicality as the sassy allure of Hanni’s vocals soar over immense catchy hooks and Clara’s buoyant beats and witty between-song chat. With all the colourful, empowering vivacity that you could ever hope for, ARXX once again prove themselves to be a band consistently honing and developing their sound to create the freshest, most addictive of tunes. Impossible to pigeonhole into one genre, they continue to impress with everything they do (including the surprise ‘Sk8r Boi’ cover with special guest vocalist Beth White!), and remain truly one of the most exciting – and completely lovely – bands I’ve ever come across. It’s such an honour to host them at one of our nights again that I notice silly little tears (of joy and pride) trickling down my cheeks as the set draws to a close.

Massive thanks again to the three AMAZING bands who played for us on Friday, to all at The Shacklewell Arms and to everyone who came along and sold out the night, raising £300 for Abortion Support Network. A really special night!
Next month we have another two gigs in store for you: 12th August at The Victoria with Manchester band Nikki & The Waves, First Frontier and Panic Pocket – tickets here, and 20th August at The Cavendish Arms with Australian duo Mannequin Death Squad, Maya Lakhani and Dogviolet – tickets here!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Harry Levin / @harrywlevin

LIVE: Women’s Work Showcase 2022 – Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast

A community led, human-centered approach to promoting and supporting women & non-binary people in music, the Women’s Work Showcase at Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre was stacked with impressive live performances over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. Full of passionate, respectful fans and artists who all contributed to making the space feel as vibrant and as safe as possible, the showcase displayed the eclectic and exciting musical talent of the Northern Irish & Irish music scenes.

As we walked into the venue to the sound of Girl For Sale‘s tender guitar tunes, we recognised so many faces both on and off stage. HAVVK, Party Fears and Problem Patterns were all amongst the crowd, who cheered as self-described “pink pop princess” Susi Pagel performed her bittersweet anthems ‘Pick Me’, ‘Pretty Girl’ and also treated listeners to a cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’, as a nod to the 20th anniversary of the Canadian superstar’s debut album, Let Go.

Split across two stages, we turned to see Clara Tracey clad in a white suit seated behind her keyboard, as she delivered a captivating set filled with her clear, soft vocals and jazz-tinged keys. The sharp, infectious sounds of rapper Don Chi filled the venue next. Though she confessed to feeling nervous between songs, Don Chi continued to emcee with impressive confidence, with tracks ‘Orange’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Dent’ especially leaving a mark on the memory.

Up next were formidable Dublin four-piece SPRINTS. Tearing through a riotous set list that included songs from their recent EP A Modern Job, the band had the crowd hanging on every riff and chorus, with vocalist & guitarist Karla Chubb commanding their attention with truly furious flair. The infectious, radiant alt-pop tunes of Winnie Ama followed, filling the venue with joy and swaying bodies to tracks ‘Here I Go’ and ‘Awe Of You’.

Aoife Wolf brought her brooding “Noise folk from the bog” to everyone’s ears next. Armed with her guitar and enigmatic vocals, the effect of her subtle, yet captivating performance lingered long after she’d stopped playing. GIHE favourites Fraulein took to the stage afterwards, bringing their moody brand of alternative grunge to an attentive crowd. Joni & Karston’s natural charisma made their performance feel effortless, with tracks ‘And I Go (La La La)’ and ‘Belly’ sounding bigger and better each time we hear them. Derry trio CHERYM brought their brand of infectious pop punk inspired tunes next, smiling from ear-to-ear as they did so. ‘Abigail’, ‘We’re Just Friends’ and ‘Listening to my Head’ all stood out amongst a setlist full of energetic guitar anthems that went by in a flash of glee and angst.

Closing the night were feminist punks Problem Patterns. Kicking off their set with ‘Y.A.W’ (‘Yes All Women’), Alanah, Beth, Bev and Ciara firmly established their status as one of the most important and powerful live bands of the moment. Challenging the traditional “front person” set up by having each band member switch between mics and instruments for different songs, their set was full of jokes, joy and rage: all shared and directed at the patriarchal forces that attempt to crush minority communities who are asking for the respect they deserve. ‘Terfs Out’ the gloriously abrasive ‘Big Shouty’ and the wonderful ‘Gal Pals’ all resonated with the enthusiastic crowd.

Despite many artists and fans having to leave the venue earlier than planned due to public transport issues (which Oh Yeah Music Centre’s Charlotte Dryden highlighted in this tweet), the Women’s Work Showcase felt like a truly progressive initiative that proved that safe spaces for women & non-binary artists and fans are vital, and something that can be implemented into the wider music scenes if people are willing to put in the effort.

All that’s left to say is a huge thank you to the staff at the Oh Yeah Centre, the patient and attentive sound engineers, and to Charlene Hegarty, who curated the line-up and invited us over to share in the joy of Women’s Work.

Follow Women’s Work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & on their official website

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: The Great Escape 2022 (Photos & Highlights)

We were back at The Great Escape for the first time in 3 YEARS at the weekend, stomping around Brighton trying to catch some of our favourite women and LGBTQ+ artists in new music. Spread across multiple venues in the city, the festival showcased an eclectic line-up of talent, and our Features Editor Kate Crudgington and official photographer Jon Mo were there to capture just some of the highlights of the prolific 3 day event.

Of course, clashes, queues and timing issues meant we inevitably missed some artists, including sets from ZAND, Ailbhe Reddy, Mykki Blanco, A.A. Williams, Witch Fever, Bad Waitress, Kills Birds, LibraLibra, PEANESS and Grandmas House, but we tried to get to as many gigs as possible on Thursday & Friday. Read about the performances we did manage to catch and take a look at our pictures below…

 

ARXX remain one of our favourite bands, both on and off stage

Whether it’s vocalist & guitarist Hanni casually saying “let’s break up this wall of men” as we moved towards the front for Fräulein’s set at Queens Hotel, or drummer Clara cracking up the crowd with her story about a seagull stealing her croissant during their own set (she’s a Brighton resident as well, rookie mistake) – ARXX truly are the definition of an iconic duo. Their set at The Hope & Ruin was so packed we couldn’t get in, but it was worth running up the hill to Brighton Youth Centre to catch them performing later on the same day. Full of their trademark riotous riffs, anthemic vocals and knockout percussion, the duo tore through renditions of ‘Deep’ and ‘Call Me Crazy’ as well as previewing their new single, ‘Couldn’t Help Myself’. We can’t wait to have them headline for GIHE again at The Shacklewell Arms on the 22nd July. (tickets here)

Fräulein are your new favourite grunge duo

Joni & Karston aka Fräulein blew us away when they headlined our first GIHE gig of 2022 back in January at The Victoria in Dalston. Since then, the duo have been playing across London non-stop and have been out on tour with The Mysterines and Coach Party too. They performed their brooding, captivating grunge sounds to a full house in the basement at Queens Hotel on Thursday afternoon, with singles ‘And I Go (La La La)’ and ‘Drag Behind’ being set highlights. They played a show on each day of the festival over the weekend, so if you didn’t catch at least one of their sets, you definitely missed out.

We are in love with Brimheim and her band

We had a lot of FEELINGS watching Danish artist Brimheim perform to a packed crowd at seafront venue WaterBear – and all of them were GOOD. Clearly loving every moment of her set alongside her equally enthusiastic band, she thrashed around with her guitar, enjoyably scowling down at her mic as she delivered her pitch perfect vocals. Performing songs from her debut album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, she thundered through ‘favourite day of the week’ and ‘baleen feeder’, her exquisite, confessional lyrics were given a new edge by her raw, more abrasive live performance. We cannot wait to see her live again.

The Irish showcase at Prince Albert is always a festival highlight

Year after year, the line-up for the Irish showcase at the Prince Albert continues to impress us. Even when we can’t physically get into the venue to see the bands (we heard SPRINTS sounding HUGE as we stood in the queue on the stairs) the atmosphere and the talent is always worth sticking around for. We caught Tolu Makay in her stunning sequin-drenched outfit on Thursday, performing infectiously fun tracks from her debut album Being, including ‘Me, Myself & I’ and ‘You Are Enough’. On Friday, we were front row for CMAT’s show (read more on that below) and to catch Kynsy live for the first time. Since the release of her debut single ‘Cold Blue Light’ in 2020, we’ve been keen to see her show and she did not disappoint. Accompanied by her band, she ripped through singles ‘Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State’ and ‘Elephant in the Room’, her voice sounding superb despite her saying she was “a little croaky” on the day.

Tolu Makay

KYNSY

CMAT is Queen

Despite their best efforts to make things work, CMAT’s band couldn’t play along with her due to tech difficulties, so the Irish pop sensation shrugged it off and performed a superb solo acoustic set instead. Armed with her guitar and her trademark white cowboy boots, she performed seamless renditions of ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’, ‘Nashville’ and a “lounge version” of ‘No More Virgos’ with keyboard player Colm, all taken from her debut album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead. A mix of stand up comedy and stand out vocals, CMAT’s sets are always a total joy to witness, and listening to other folks in the crowd sing along to ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ never gets old.

Lido Pimienta is a L.E.G.E.N.D.

Full of her stunning vocals, metal-esque screams, sharp wit and strong pro-choice vibes, award-winning Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist Lido Pimienta had the crowd dancing, cheering and laughing along during her set at Jubilee Square. Performing tracks from her 2020 album, Miss Colombia, including a flawless rendition of ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’, Pimienta cracked jokes about the Queen’s Jubilee between songs and made valid comments about the importance of respecting women’s reproductive rights. Her charisma, euphoric live energy and candid comments will remain embedded in our memories for weeks to come.

We want to join Softcult

We’ve been looking forward to catching Canadian twin siblings Mercedes and Phoenix aka Sofcult live since the release of their debut EP, Year Of The Rat, in 2021. Informed by their experiences of sexism and objectification as young women in the music industry, the pair performed their bittersweet grunge-pop anthems to a packed crowd at Volks, with songs ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ and ‘Gaslight’ providing an empowering and cathartic moment to push back against toxic masculinity.

We want to scream in tune like Lucy from Projector

Brighton band Projector have always impressed us with their live shows, but their set at The Tempest Inn on Friday evening truly excelled all other times we’ve seen them play. The four piece smashed through a set full of visceral alternative noise, with bassist & vocalist Lucy’s cord-ripping screams absolutely decimating our ear drums (in the good way), especially during the band’s latest single ‘hell in my head’.

Like most major UK festivals, The Great Escape has room for improvement

Whilst our experience of The Great Escape was a positive one, we know that’s not the case for everyone who attends or plays at the festival. We saw a tweet from artist Billy Nomates explaining that there was “no water no towel no buy out no rider [and] a microphone that doesn’t work” – therefore she couldn’t perform to the best of her ability at her set on Friday night.

We also saw a tweet from the band PEANESS, rightfully lamenting the lack of opportunities for artists playing the festival to have access to complimentary food and drinks, whilst delegates are often bombarded with these invites. It was both disheartening and comforting to see replies on these threads that echoed similar sentiments, especially as artists (particularly female artists) are often labelled as ‘unappreciative’ or ‘difficult’ when they highlight these issues. It’s not fair that people’s experiences of the same festival differ so vastly.

There are plenty of artists, promoters and PR teams working towards a better and more equal music industry – we met and saw some of them at The Great Escape! – but until everyone is on the same page, we will continue to elevate the conversations that challenge the unfair “norm”.

In terms of its line-up, 2022’s Great Escape really did feel like one of its most diverse and entertaining yet. But there’s always more to learn, more work to do both on and off stage, and more reason than ever to speak out when you think you’re being treated unfairly. Respect to the artists who were bold enough to do so this year.

CIEL

BERRIES

Gen & The Degenerates

Words: Kate Crudgington / @KCBobCut
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophotography