Get In Her Ears Live @ The Shacklewell Arms w/ Problem Patterns, 03.12.2021

On Friday we were back for our second gig since February 2020, and our first time hosting at the glorious Shacklewell Arms, and what a fantastic night it was! Huge thanks to the three totally amazing bands who played (I was blown away by you all!), and to all the lovely folk who came out to support them and fill the venue with the best of vibes… We’re still feeling all the feels, and are extremely grateful to everyone who made it such a dream night.

First up, GUTTS kick things off in a wonderfully riotous way – blasting out their queer sax-punk with an angst-driven energy and magnetising charisma.

Next up, Margate duo pink suits deliver their poignantly charged, utterly immense punk anthems. With just drums, a guitar and the riotous force of their voices, Lennie and Ray offer an inclusive Feminist rebellion to bring about radical change. With a captivating, seething energy, each frenzied offering is propelled by a colossal force, leaving me mind-blown and ready to join their fight for an upheaval of a neoliberal society. 

Having travelled all the way over from Belfast for the gig, I’ve been excited about hosting headliners, Problem Patterns, for a long time now, and they do not disappoint! Continually swapping instruments throughout the set, the Northern Irish Feminist punks cover topics ranging from transphobia and sexism, to the power of female friendship and the damaging effects of toxic relationships. With each poignant, raging offering, the band ooze a swirling, empowering energy and fierce, infectious passion, uniting the crowd in solidarity with both their righteous anger and vibrant, joyous sense of fun. A truly exciting set from one of my most favourite bands.

Massive thanks to the three incredible bands who played for us on Friday and everyone who came along! Join us for our next gig, on 21st January at The Victoria with headliners Fräulein and support from Breakup Haircut and Naz & Ella.

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

LIVE: Grace Petrie @ Stanley Arts, 12.11.2021

Having initially bought tickets to see Grace Petrie back in May 2020, it was with great excitement that I finally got to witness her politically-charged, yet beautifully uplifting, folk anthems live on 12th November. And it was with even more excitement that, having been a Croydon resident for over three years now, I was able to attend an event at charming local venue Stanley Arts (formally Stanley Halls), just down the road in South Norwood. As a South London resident, it made a particularly nice change to be able to walk to and from a gig, when normally I have to brave various modes of public transport to venture across to the other side of the city…

And the venue seems to suit Grace Petrie’s understated, yet strident, charm perfectly. Sitting in the picturesque old community hall (that now strives to be a completely inclusive space with a focus on hosting LGBTQIA+ creatives and artists of colour), as Petrie introduces us to her “songs of social justice”, a refreshing sense of togetherness seems to unite the crowd and she’s greeted with cheers for the first song of the set – ‘Farewell To Welfare’; one she says that she used to end with, but has now decided to open with as “if that wasn’t politically up your street, the rest of the gig is not for you!” And she’s right; this particularly resonant offering, this longing for a socialist revolution, continues throughout the set, and it’s right up my street – both politically, and musically. 

Continuing with an emotive track from 2017’s Heart First Aid Kit, ‘Coldwaterproofjacket’, Petrie invites us all to sing along to the catchy chorus, and we joyfully oblige; accompanying her own exquisite, rich vocals and lilting melodies to this beautifully heartwarming ballad. And the endearing, friendly vibes continue as Petrie introduces us to multi-instrumentalist Ben Moss, who is not only her musical partner, but was unintentionally her housemate for 6 months during the first of last year’s lockdowns – “We’ve come out of it much closer than we were, there’s not many people I could spend six months locked in a house with. But we got through it!” (in fact she seems to be so fond of him, and in awe of his talents, that later in the set she shares that she has considered setting up a crowdfunder to clone him…) 

It was during this first lockdown that Grace Petrie wrote her latest album, Connectivity – a poignant collection of tracks reflecting on our connection to, and unity with, other people to keep us going through hard times. Taken from this album, Grace introduces ‘Storm To Weather’ as being for “us storm-battered socialists who don’t know when this hurricane is going to stop…” A stirring sentiment oozing an empowering message of solidarity and resilience and, as we all join in with heartfelt gusto to the mainline of the chorus “I will love you forever and we’ll dance again next year”, I feel an overpowering raw emotion, heeding this political call to arms to keep going; to keep fighting for change, for better times…

Following the twinkling grace of ‘Ivy’, a song dedicated to Petrie’s niece who came into the world during Glastonbury 2014 – thankfully after Dolly Parton’s set (which I too was lucky enough to witness!), there’s another offering from the new album. A moving reflection on the confused headspace that can come from mixed messages and unrequited feelings, ‘The Last Man On Earth’ showcases Ben Moss’ immense musical skill as he switches between banjo and fiddle, alongside Petrie’s immersive crystalline charm; poignantly juxtaposing the raw emotion of its heartfelt sentiment with a refreshingly joyous musicality and instantly catchy energy. 

Taking a brief interlude from her own songs, Petrie then hands over to Moss to take centre stage as we’re treated to one of his own, solo offerings – the chiming traditional folk sounds of ‘Bold Reynard’, a lilting ode to the “modern day fox”. 

Resuming her unifying, politically-driven passion, Petrie introduces 2017’s ‘God Save The Hungry’ as an “alternative national anthem” – clarifying that, although God may not be her thing, if he was then surely there are more worthy people in need of saving than the Queen. As she sings with a fervent emotion – “God save the hungry, God save the poor, God save those desperate souls whose lives are torn apart by war. God save the homeless and those with disabilities, and all the other targets of this heartless ideology.” – I’m struck by this extremely pertinent sentiment, once again showcasing Petrie’s knack for combining resonant, necessary themes with an utterly unique, shimmering musicality. 

Reviving our appreciation of Ben Moss, we’re then reminded of a project that he and Petrie worked on together throughout lockdown. Recording a rendition of a song beginning with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet each day, the two of them united with fans at a time when small pleasures were especially important; bringing a little joy into our locked-down lives, connecting us to each other, with each of these covers, and in the process raising money for The Big Issue. Petrie explains that on each of their gigs on the current tour, they’ve been picking out of a hat which one of these covers to play, and “hope it’s not ‘Xanadoo‘”… We end up with V and so ‘Venus’ it is – a fun-filled, folk-tinged rendition of the classic ‘80s hit – such a special rendition in fact, that we forgive Grace for forgetting some of the words.

Following the rousing, heartfelt emotion of the beautifully accordion-accompanied ‘Some Days Are Worse Than Others’,  Petrie explains that the reason she is dressed so smartly is not actually because she has a snooker match after the gig, but to convey the message of the next song – the poignant and empowering ‘Black Tie’. Addressing the damaging effects of enforced gender norms, it was written as a message of hope to Grace’s younger self, and to those like her – she explains that as an unhappy teenager, she had to deal with society telling her she was wrong, but today she is proud to be a butch lesbian: “I turned 30 and instantly stopped giving a fuck.” Tonight, Petrie dedicates the song to all her trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming siblings, and urges us all to protest transphobia at this time when it is more important than ever to stand together and protect each other against those who are seeking to oppress us. And, as we all sing along to the lyrics “and the images that fucked you were a patriarchal structure, and you never will surrender to a narrow view of gender…”, I feel an overwhelming sense of unity, a fierce determination to be the best ally I can possibly be and stand with my trans siblings, today and every day. Because trans rights are human rights, trans women are women and trans men are men. Non-binary people are valid. And every single one of us, whatever gender, race or nationality we may be, deserve equal rights, safety and joy.

Following an enlivening call and response crowd participation for Queer As Folk’s ‘Northbound’, Petrie returns for a welcome encore with the closing track of her latest album, ‘The Losing Side’, for all her comrades – “If I’ve spent my life on the losing side, you can lay me down knowing that I’ve tried.” A stirring way to end the set, leaving us with a poignant sense of hope and unity. A sense of joy at finding solidarity in each other, and a determination not to give up in the face of adversity.

So, thank you to Grace Petrie (and Ben!) for such a lovely evening. A perfectly cathartic experience in these strange times, reminding me of the connection that music can bring, offering a comforting message of solidarity and resilience at a time when we need it the most.

Plus, I got to be home and in bed by 11pm! 

Listen to/buy Grace Petrie’s latest album, Connectivity, now. And read a recent interview with her on Get In Her Ears here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

WATCH: CRISP&CLASSY – ‘Boom Bay’

Having released their fantastic debut album XTRA CRISPY last month, Feminist LGBTQIA+ electro-pop duo CRISP&CLASSY (aka producer Kat Knix and singer-songwriter Plushy) pride themselves on bringing sexual liberation and self-acceptance to the UK pop scene. Following the release of the euphoric single ‘Boom Bay‘ earlier this year, the duo have now shared a vibrant new video to accompany the track.

Exuding a colourful queer joy and blissful sassy splendour, the playful, fun-filled visuals are the perfect accompaniment to the track’s sensuous, soulful drive and its uplifting, empowering lyricism. A wonderful celebration of self-love and our connection with each other, it’s just what you need to start off the weekend – a truly liberating treat for the eyes and ears that’ll exhilarate and inspire.

Of the new video, CRISP&CLASSY tell us:

We are so excited to share our first music video with the world. This is a music video sponsored by our fans and made for our fans!

We had the absolute honour to work on this project with incredibly talented director Leo Lebeau and stunningly gifted producer James Bell. They have inspired us and milked the best out of us in this video. More iconic artists who worked on this project are stylist Tudor Covaciu, MUA Alberto Papparotto, wig styling by StyledByVodka and more wigs by Manwigs, drag artist Polka Dot, intersex model Deanna Jade.

The storyline follows us on a sexy journey, surrounded by a community of LGBTQIA+ performers. This is how we’ve always wanted our fans to see the CRISP&CLASSY World. Empowering women, non binary people, and the LGBTQIA+ community has always been our mission statement, and was important to include in this video, and our future work.  We love giving our audience a gender and genre bending experience, inviting them to a safe space where everyone can feel safe and seen.

We really enjoyed shooting this project and we love everyone who was there on set and in spirit with us from a far. We love u!”

Watch the new video for ‘Boom Bay’ here:

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Guest Blog: Potpourri (‘Love Letters’ to Sisters Uncut)

In the wake of events such as the murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, and the recent passing of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, organisations such as Sisters Uncut have been doing vital work in uniting people to fight injustice, providing a strong voice to highlight diminishing funds and government representation that leave people vulnerable, protecting those in need.

Sheffield band Potpourri have recognised the immense of importance of Sisters Uncut, and so wanted to show their gratitude and love for the organisation by putting together ‘Love Letters’: a compilation of beautiful tunes by DIY artists who feel strongly about the cause. Including favourites such as PINS, Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business, Y.A.Y MARIA and The Crystal Furs, amongst many others, it’s a heartfelt ode to not only draw attention to Sisters Uncut’s vital work, but to raise funds for them at a time when they need it the most.

We spoke to Lauren from Potpourri about the decision to release Love Letters… Have a read and buy on bandcamp now!

Sisters Uncut is an incredible British feminist direct action group that has catalysed a current of empowerment, creating accessibility for people to come together, find the confidence to open dialogue, and express their right to be free and equal citizens. The Kill The Bill coalition established consciousness of the danger against Roma, Traveller, and Gypsy communities, and unveiled the increase of tools of state violence against communities that already bear the brunt of a racist, sexist criminal justice system.

It felt important to send love and gratitude to the people working tirelessly to end violence against women and non-binary people. Their graft couldn’t go unnoticed and we felt that if there was a way we could use our art to stand in solidarity, we would.

The lockdown meant that a fundraiser gig couldn’t take place, but we could still contribute and act in a different way to fight the rollback of human rights. I wanted our first Love Letter compilation to reflect the Sisters Uncut feministo, reaching out to female and gender-variant artists who themselves are creating gorgeous music with a DIY ethos and building their own pockets of togetherness. It was a blessing to connect with fellow bands, especially when bands haven’t been crossing paths for the last year, and together support a movement we feel so dearly about. Everyone who contributed to the cassette condemns the awful systemic violence that Sisters Uncut work so hard to draw attention to and fight against.

Massive thanks to Lauren for talking to us about this vital and beautiful compilation. Buy Love Letters on bandcamp now, and find out more about Sisters Uncut here. And below see the accompanying ‘love letter’ from all the bands involved to Sisters Uncut.