GIHE Personal Highlights 2019

It’s that time of year again when we look back at some of our highlights of the last twelve months. And, despite coming to a pretty horrific and terrifying end, 2019 has been filled with some pretty memorable moments… 

So far, we’ve shared our favourite tracks, albums and gigs of the year, and we’ve yet to reveal our Ones To Watch for 2020, but for now, here are our personal overall highlights of the last year…


Bikini Kill Reforming
When news that Bikini Kill were reforming broke earlier this year, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Despite seeing The Julie Ruin twice now (the second time at KOKO probably being the most special gig I’ve ever been to), I – like many other people I know – was desperate to get tickets; seeing the Riot Grrrl pioneers back together, reunited with the original line-up (with the exception of guitarist Billy being replaced by Erica Dawn Lyle) would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thankfully, I succeeded. And what an experience it was. Although I started to feel anxious on the way to Brixton Academy about this event I’d built up so much, the minute Kathleen, Kathi, Tobi and Erica graced the stage (after a fantastic and career-building set from Big Joanie), all worries and negative thoughts disappeared. I was completely immersed in the empowering, inspiring force emanating from these heroes of mine. And, as those first few notes of personal favourite ‘Feels Blind’ hit, I felt my eyes fill up and my heart break just a little. A truly memorable experience, not only because of the incredible womxn in the bands, but the hoards of familiar faces of amazing womxn and allies that filled the venue – all of us seeking solace in our favourite band, and in the unity of being with each other. So, thank you Bikini Kill, for being a constant source of motivation, for so-often giving me the strength to carry on, and for giving us all the opportunity to see you live – an experience I never thought would be possible.
(Mari Lane – Co Founder/Managing Editor)

Bikini Kill Reforming
Watching Bikini Kill live at Brixton Academy earlier this year was a life-affirming event. I was stood next to my cousin, an original ’90s Riot Grrrl, and surrounded by my GIHE grrrls and allies, and I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. Bikini Kill have given so many women the confidence to start a revolution – whether that’s personal, political or musical – and their live show proved that even after a 20 year hiatus, they’re still as riotous, raw, and committed to giving girls and women that power. Watching Big Joanie support them was also a pretty special experience, which they relayed to us when they were guests on our radio show shortly afterwards. I feel very privileged to have seen these women grace Brixton Academy’s stage.
(Kate Crudgington – Co-Founder/Features Editor)

Missy Elliot Blitzes MTV Video Music Awards
For about as long as I can remember, it feels like Missy ‘Misdemeanour’ Elliot has been a revered figure. A pop-star sure, but a rapper, writer and producer too. An uncompromisingly offbeat, yet still charismatic figure, and an unconventional individual in an industry that leans heavily towards the conventional in its pursuit of profit. She’s someone who could talk about sexuality, but not be exploited as a sexual object. An innovator who succeeds in taking her audience with her, by making deceptively simple music that doesn’t talk down to the listener. This particular performance came as part of her receipt of the 2019 MTV ‘Video Vanguard’ award at the annual awards show and reflects Elliot’s long-standing position at the intersection of pop, hip-hop and electronic music, as a woman of colour completely in control of her sound, her public persona and her image. But, in truth, I couldn’t give a toss about the VMAs themselves. Credit where it’s due – the staging of this reflected Elliot’s career, and her performances of a medley hits including ‘Pass That Dutch’ and ‘Work It’ were spot-on, whilst the show’s costume changes were satisfyingly ludicrous (camo to inflated PVC to scarecrow to day-glo tracksuit). The footage also shows latter-day pop mammoths at the side of the stage, singing and dancing like they were fans off the street. That’s the Missy effect – it lets anyone, even Taylor Swift, get their freak on. The performance is a mere seven minutes, but it showcases exactly what’s possible when artistic integrity is combined with originality and a dump-truck of talent. In a year of cynicism, this was music at its most gleeful.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

Queens Of Punk: Poly-Styrene & Jordan, The British Library, July 2019
Prior to having Celeste Bell on our radio show earlier this month, this summer I attended a very special night celebrating Queens Of Punk at The British Library. Hosted by self proclaimed ‘Professor Of Punk’, Vivien Goldman, the panel discussed the release of two books about two of the most legendary ‘queens of punk’: Defying Gravity: Jordan’s Story and Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story, by Zoë Howe and Celeste. The whole evening was particularly poignant, especially given that now, nearly 50 years after its emergence, when we’ve witnessed a regression in politics and equal rights, the spirit of ‘punk’ – and in particular these strong female voices – is needed now more than it has been for decades. Hearing about all the pivotal steps that these women before us have taken in a quest to be heard left me feeling inspired and motivated. As Goldman said at the beginning of the evening, now is certainly the time to revive the punk spirit, to unite and overcome adversity: we need strong figures like Poly and Jordan now more than ever. Read more about the night here.
(ML)

Noga Erez Interview, November 2019
I remember replying quickly, and in caps lock, when Mari told me we had interview time with the brilliant Noga Erez. I also remember trying to stay calm, and not fan girl, when I walked into the room to meet her a few weeks later. Noga was incredibly welcoming. She patiently answered my many questions, and made me laugh when she asked if “Get In Her Ears” meant the same kind of thing as “Get In Her Pants”. Read the full interview here.
(KC)

GIHE Radio Show
I’ll be here forever if I start talking about how much fun I’ve had hosting or co-hosting our weekly radio shows this year. Here is a very brief re-cap of my favourite guests: Foxgluvv, Big Joanie, ARXX, Bengi Unsal, ESYA, Jelly Cleaver, Girls Rock London and Celeste Bell.
(KC)

Indietracks, July 2019
Indietracks is always the highlight of my summer, hands down. So much so that I now volunteer there. This year, though, the indiepop festival, which takes place at a vintage railway station in Derbyshire, felt particularly special. While many festival line-ups remain overwhelmingly male, all three of Indietracks headliners were female-fronted bands. There was a real celebration of non-binary and queer artists too. One of the most special performances was The Spook’s School’s final Indietracks show. The band, who were Indietracks regulars, penned a special tribute song to the festival and, basically, just made everyone cry their eyes out. Oh, and there were balloons! Porridge Radio, Bis, LIINES, The Orielles, Peaness and Martha were amazing too. And while the endless rain might have soaked everything we owned, it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Indietracks is such a special, cosy and inclusive festival; I’m looking forward to taking my kids again next year. There’s already a couple of exciting rumours about the line-up, and it’s got to be time we had a bit of sun, surely?! Indietracks 2020 takes place from 24th – 26th July at the Midland Railway Centre in Butterley, Derbyshire. Tickets and more information are available from https://www.indietracks.co.uk/
(Vic Conway – Contributor)

Bang Bang Romeo Interview, October 2019
It really was such an honour to interview Stars and the rest of Bang Bang Romeo prior to their sold-out gig at Omeara earlier this year. Just genuinely nice people, with an admirable enthusiasm for all they do, they discussed their love of music, working with P!NK, their upcoming releases and ‘that’ topic of being a ‘woman in the industry’ – “I wanna be on a line-up for a festival because I’m good enough, not because I’ve ticked a box. Not because there’s a space for my vagina! I don’t want to be a statistic on your fucking spreadsheet. I’m here because I’m good enough.” Stars’ assertive and vibrant nature is something that I truly admire, and wish I had more of. She’s a force to be reckoned with, an essential strong presence in today’s industry. Read the full interview here.
(ML)

Talking On Panels At Southbank Centre / Skivvy Records
Get In Her Ears have received some incredible invitations to talk about what we do as a non-profit organisation this year. Tash & I spoke on two panels at Southbank Centre. The first was for a Women In Music event, where we spoke about the representation of women & LGBTQ+ people in the music industry. The second was for Jazzworks and The London Jazz Festival, talking about issues faced by women & LGBTQ+ people in the industry as a whole. I also loved speaking alongside Mari on another panel for independent label Skivvy Records at Peckham Levels. We met so many inspiring young women, and hopefully provided them with some information about how to get past the many hurdles we ourselves have come across.

I can’t believe I’ve gone from listening to music alone in my bedroom, to talking to rooms full of women and girls about the work I do alongside Mari & Tash at Get In Her Ears. It’s something I’ll never take for granted.
(KC)

Our Wedding, August 2019
Well, we did say ‘personal’ highlights… But seriously, I couldn’t really round up this year without mentioning marrying to the best person I know. My new spouse, Paul, is a truly wonderful ally, and someone who Get In Her Ears wouldn’t exist without – not only does he create most of our artwork, and help with all the technical aspects of running a website, he inspires me every day. I pride myself on being an independent woman, but his constant support and enthusiasm for all I do is unmatched, it’s what keeps me going when I feel like giving up. He is constantly helping me come up with new ideas and strive for new dreams. Everyone who was at our wedding inspires me constantly, and it was pretty special just spending a whole day with all the people we love in one place. Aside from the obvious getting married to the best person thing, highlights of the day included: walking down the aisle to Deep Throat Choir, my family forming an epic ‘Lane Band’ and performing amazingly, Tash tearing up the dance-floor with one of my nieces, and Kate literally running for her life from the toilet when she heard ‘Rebel Girl’ was playing (never seen anyone move that fast!). Massive thanks to our Jon Mo, too, who made an exception from gig photography, to capture all the action!
(ML)

And thanks to everyone who’s been following, reading, listening and attending gigs of ours, this year – it really does mean the world, and we couldn’t do this without you.

Listen to our Best Of 2019 playlist, with added personal highlights, now:

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut
John McGovern / @etinsuburbiaego
Vic Conway 

JazzWorks ‘Jazz Is For Everyone Panel’ at Southbank Centre Feat. GIHE (Free Event)

GIHE are thrilled to announce we have been invited to speak on JazzWork‘s ‘Jazz Is For Everyone Panel’ at Southbank Centre (Level 5 Function Room) on Saturday 23rd November, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The panel will be chaired by Francesca Treadaway (Senior Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Incorporated Society of Musicians), and Maxie Gedge (Project Manager, PRSF Keychange Initiative), and CN Lester (musician & activist) and Liz Exell (Musician & Founder of Jazz Herstory) will also be speaking alongside GIHE.

Running from 4-5pm, the panel will discuss how far has the industry come in supporting artists of different genders and gender minorities, and which barriers still exist for artists who identify as a range of genders to making music, and building a sustainable career. JazzWorks aim to facilitate a conversation between industry representatives, funders, and musicians on how the current infrastructure is supporting these artists, and where they need to go next.

JazzWorks will be curating a full day of workshops, talks, and networking opportunities on Saturday 23rd November, so we urge you to turn up early and attend as many as you can!

Reserve your FREE ticket for the ‘Jazz Is For Everyone Panel’ here.

Find out what other JazzWorks events you can attend here.

This session is part of JazzWorks, EFG London Jazz Festival 2019’s dedicated day of discussion and debate focusing on some of the most important topics facing jazz and the music industry at the moment. The official partners for JazzWorks 2019 are Help Musicians UK and Incorporated Society of Musicians

Gazelle Twin & NYX Electronic Drone Choir to perform ‘Deep England’ as part of EFG London Jazz Festival

A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) has paired up with the NYX electronic drone choir once again to perform ‘Deep England’; a hair-raising transformation of her recent album Pastoral, which exhumes England’s “rotten past” and questions its uncertain future. The performance will take place on 20th November at Southbank Centre, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The collaboration was first commissioned and performed in December 2018 as part of a collaborative series at London’s Oval Space, but now Bernholz’s operatic voice will be displayed in all its glory alongside the equally as powerful voices of the NYX choir in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Together, Bernholz and NYX use their voices, acoustic glitching, polyphonic overtone and ambient textures to bring Gazelle Twin’s Pastoral vision to life. The unique choir explore and test the limits of organic and synthetic modulation to explore the entire spectrum of collective female voice as an instrument. Their veiled Handmaid’s-Tale-esque silhouettes are a formidable sight on stage, so expect to be blown away by the power and the glory of their live show.

GIHE will be at the show, and we urge you to grab a ticket for it here.

For more information about EFG London Jazz Festival events, click here.

Happy Birthday Us: GIHE Turns Two!

To mark two years since the birth of our baby website, we’ve decided to look back at a few of our personal highlights of the last 24 months. From fantastic gigs and memorable interviews, to informative guest blogs and the return of some of our favourite bands, it’s been amazing getting to share what we’re passionate about on our little platform.

So, we’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all who’ve supported us on this journey – to all the wonderful bands and artists who inspire us every day, and anyone who takes time to read/listen to us and spread the word about what we do. We’re super grateful for you all, and could not have done this without you! Here’s to the next two years and more, continuing to do as much as possible to promote and support female/non binary/LGBTQ+ people in new music.

Have a read about some of our highlights of the last couple of years, and listen to our special birthday playlist below…

Guest Blog: Dream Nails’ Janey – “What It Means To Be A Punk Witch”
One of the first ever posts to go up on the website, it was a real honour to have Janey from faves Dream Nails share with us what it means to be a punk witch; discussing the importance of sisterhood, feminism and direct action, and the need for women and non-binary people to come together in safe spaces. All things that we hold with great regard here at Get In Her Ears. Talking about the catharsis of channelling “the instinctive, magic energy of womanhood together”, reading this highlights just how necessary and powerful voices such as Janey’s are at times like this; why we need bands like Dream Nails more than ever – groups willing to combine activism and music to form a unifying force against the patriarchy.
– Mari Lane

Get In Her Ears w/ Big Joanie
It’s hard to pick favourites when it comes to guests we’ve booked for our radio show, but when Steph & Estella from punk band Big Joanie agreed to come in to the studio for a chat, I was genuinely excited. Their knowledge and experience surrounding the DIY music scene and intersectional feminism is so fascinating and so vital. The work they do on and off stage is incredible, so I’m glad we could support them on our platform.
– Kate Crudgington

Having Steph & Estella from Big Joanie as guests on the radio show was definitely a highlight for me! We barely needed to ask a question; as Kate says, they spoke with such knowledge and experience surrounding the DIY music scene and intersectional feminism, it was an honour to listen to what they were saying. And their music’s not too bad either…!
– Tash Walker

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ ARXX
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we invited one of our most favourite bands to headline for us at The Finsbury. And what better way to celebrate womanhood than with the utterly phenomenal, ferocious force of the magnificent ARXX. Joined by the fun-filled empowering energy of The Baby Seals, the fierce post-punk of Scrounge and the twinkling soundscapes of Rainbow Corp, it was a truly special night; one which left me feeling all the feels and incredibly grateful for being able to do what we do.
– Mari

Introducing Interview: Helga
I really enjoyed interviewing Helga both because I love her music but also because it’s so important to us at Get In Her Ears to champion the artists we believe in. Publishing interviews, reviews and guest blogs from womxn and non-binary people across the music industry is what we’re about, and will always be about for all the years to come!
– Tash

Interview: Teri Gender Bender from Le Butcherettes 
I only discovered Le Butcherettes after they released their fourth album bi/MENTAL earlier this year – I must’ve been living under a rock. Shame on me! I saw them live at Moth Club and I was blown away by front-woman Teri Gender Bender’s formidable voice and captivating performance style. When I called her for a chat, I was worried my fan-girling would get in the way of my journalistic interests in her music, but luckily for me, she was incredibly friendly, charming and funny.
– Kate

LIVE (Photos): Cro Cro Land (Part 1) (Part 2)
As a fairly new Croydon resident, it was a real honour to be asked to help with the inaugural Cro Cro Land festival this year by friend and all round wonder woman Angela Martin (of Bugeye). A festival which ensures gender balance across the board – not only with those performing, but with all crew and staff behind the scenes – it was a fantastic day filled with incredible music from both widely known bands such as The Lovely Eggs, Nova Twins and Bang Bang Romeo, and personal favourites like Chorusgirl, Fightmilk and ARXX. Being able to be a part of it, and DJ on the day, was such a wonderful and informative experience, and we can’t wait for Cro Cro Land 2020… !
– Mari 

Playlist: 50 Years Of Pride
Supporting LGBTQ+ rights is at the core of what we do at Get In Her Ears 365 days a year. I’m so proud to be part of an organisation which takes the time to acknowledge this throughout everything we do, from gender neutral toilets at our gigs, to standing up in defence of LGBTQ+ equality. Our 50 Years of Pride playlist is a culmination of everything we believe in and represent, and a great way both to celebrate and take stock of what still needs to be done in the ongoing fight for equality for everyone.
– Tash

Get In Her Ears w/ ESYA
It’s an understatement to say that us GIHE girls were thrilled when ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages, Kite Base, 180 db) agreed to come into the Hoxton Radio show for a chat with us. There were a LOT of capital letters used in our group chat on WhatsApp. I’d seen her live and interviewed her at her gig at The Glove That Fits earlier in the year, and I was so happy to discover she rates Gazelle Twin’s music as highly as I do. Her attitude to going solo, and her general work ethic, are truly admirable. ESYA is proof that it doesn’t matter what level you’re at in the industry, doing things for yourself is a positive and honest way of working (even when you’re snowed under with emails/EP orders/life).
– Kate

Track Of The Day: Chorusgirl – ‘No Goodbye’
Three years after the release of their self-titled debut, GIHE faves Chorusgirl last year shared their poignant second album Shimmer and Spin via DIY label Reckless Yes. The return of a favourite band after a bit of a hiatus is always pretty exciting, but there was something particularly special about Chorusgirl’s come back. Chronicling a tense year, created during a period of crippling anxiety and a relentless string of bad luck and bad news, the album was the result of immense hard work and dedication from Silvi and co. ‘No Goodbye’ was the perfect introduction to the collection: a truly dreamy slice of scuzzy, sparkling garage-pop showcasing all there is to love about this band.
– Mari

Guest Blog: Grapefruit
I really loved this piece from Grapefruit’s Angela as part of our Guest Blog series. She chose to focus on what it means to take claim of being a woman in the music industry – it’s a great read! They also played a fantastic set for us at one of our Notting Hill Arts Club gigs, great music and great minds.
– Tash

EP: Petty Phase – ‘Petty Phase’
I love that our GIHE platform has allowed us to reach some of our established favourite artists but at its core, it’s about providing coverage for new musicians who deserve to be heard by all of our listeners/readers. Petty Phase are an Essex Riot Grrrl band who I’ve happily promoted over the last fews years on our website, and there are plenty more hard-working bands out there who are worthy of your/our attention too.
– Kate

LIVE: Indietracks Festival (Part 1) (Part 2)
With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups, I was particularly excited to have found out about Indietracks Festival last year – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And it exceeded all expectations. With highlights including Sacred Paws, Colour Me Wednesday, Happy Accidents, Sink Ya Teeth and Ghum, it was so wonderful to be a part of. Indietracks is truly like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music.
– Mari

LIVE: Hilary Woods, St Pancras Old Church
I’ve just re-read my live review of Hilary Woods’ performance at St Pancras Old Church from 2018, and it’s clear I was an emotional wreck during her show, and afterwards too. What a wonderful thing though – to be so moved by someone’s music that you hammer out 500 words about how insane you are.
– Kate

Get In Her Ears w/ Bengi Unsal
A radio show highlight for me was interviewing the Southbank Centre’s Senior Contemporary Music Programmer Bengi Unsal. She gave great insight to the work that she’s done at the Southbank Centre and throughout her career, including curating several Meltdown festivals, and the championing of electronic and world music.
– Tash

GIHE Behind The Scenes: Southbank Centre’s Alex & Phoebe
A recent feature we’ve started for the website, our behind the scenes feature focusses on all those amazing womxn working hard behind the scenes in the industry. It was a real honour to get to chat to Alex and Phoebe, the PR team behind promoting all the amazing events at my favourite space in London, Southbank Centre, for the first in the series. It was wonderful to find out about all the hard work they do, their dedication to accessibility and inclusivity, and all the Southbank Centre does for London’s culture.
– Mari 

Have a listen to our special birthday highlights playlist here:

 

Mari Lane / @marimindles
Tash Walker / @maudeandtrevor

Kate Crudgington / @kcbobcut 

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

GIHE Behind The Scenes: Southbank Centre’s Alex & Phoebe

Here at Get In Her Ears, we’ve been committed to promoting female identifying and non binary bands and artists for a while now, so we thought it was about time we also focus on those amazing womxn working hard behind the scenes in the industry!

The first in a new series of features looking at womxn Behind The Scenes, Mari popped over to her favourite space in London, Southbank Centre, to have a chat with Alex Shaw and Phoebe Gardiner, who are both responsible for promoting a lot of the incredible gigs and events that are held there.

Find out about all the hard work they do, and all the fantastic events happening at Southbank Centre below…

Hi Alex & Phoebe, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you each tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got started working at Southbank Centre?

Phoebe: I’ve worked in the creative industries since I graduated, or even before I graduated, and ended up specialising in Communications and PR pretty much because I like talking about stuff I love. I had always wanted to work at Southbank Centre. I love it. I performed here in the Royal Festival Hall a few times when I was younger with a choir I was in, and even conducted some of the Orchestra Of The Age of Enlightenment in the Clore Ballroom as part of a school project. When the job came up I had to go for it. I never thought I’d get it as I didn’t have any specific gigs PR experience, but I must have won them over!
Alex: I’ve always been really interested in the arts, and when I came to London to study I was really able to explore more – I see a lot of theatre, gigs and art in my spare time and honestly don’t think I could work in any other sector. Before working at Southbank Centre, I worked for an agency specialising in Arts PR which gave me the opportunity to really be thrown into working on a vast amount of campaigns, from the London National Trust arts projects to fringe theatre. I learnt a lot about managing press and clients in a short space of time, and realised where my passions lay! I really care about accessibility in the arts and that’s why I decided to apply for the role here at Southbank Centre: I get to work on such great gigs by well known and up-and-coming artists and, as a charity, I’m proud to work for an organisation where accessibility is at the forefront of programming here. It’s also  home to so many great youth projects including Tomorrow’s Warriors, Kinetico Bloco, and ZooNation Youth Company. I love the idea of a piece of coverage achieved by me inspiring someone to discover something new. I think experiencing arts in this big and busy capital is so so important and ties us together.

You both work in press for Southbank Centre, can you explain a little about what your job entails?

P: I’m Press Manager for Gigs & Contemporary Music and – working with Alex – we’re responsible for being on top of all the gigs happening here at Southbank Centre and securing media coverage that spreads the word about the brilliant and diverse music programme at our venues (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, and even on occasion, the Hayward Gallery).
A: As press officer, I share my time and focus between individual gigs, and keeping in touch with external PRs to support all artists coming here as much as possible. Alongside Phoebe, I also look after the day to day logistics of any press elements of a gig, including running the press desk and looking after photographers/filming on the night.
P: We also manage the PR and media campaigns for a tonne of exciting projects across the year, which can be anything from a series supporting emerging artists, to Meltdown – the longest-running artist-curated festival in the world.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

P: I love the days when I’m on my feet, dashing around the site, overseeing filming or a photoshoot, or running a press night. Or navigating backstage with artists, getting them to interviews. I love Meltdown festival; the whole site comes together and it’s thrilling.
A: There’s so many different elements! I love meeting artists and listening to their interviews, but I also enjoy meeting journalists for a catch up and then of course, actually getting to experience the amazing music here.

And do you have a least favourite part…?

P: It’s tempting to want to shout about everything that is going on here when actually we have to think about the larger strategy and the overall story of the programme.
A: There is SO much going on here that we have to be strategic with our comms and we can’t always spend as much time as we’d like on certain projects. I’d love to clone myself so I could make it along to everything!

I’d imagine you have no difficulty promoting such an iconic space, but how do you normally go about approaching press to cover events at Southbank Centre?

A: It really depends on the show – Southbank Centre programmes such unique events that we’re always having to bring new ideas to the table and target a range of audiences which keeps our approach fresh. The breadth of the offering here means one moment we’re working to secure coverage for a global superstar and the next, a completely unknown name – so we have to think creatively and flexibly. It keeps us on our toes for sure! The advancement of digital is an amazing thing (and crucial to our work), but with so much information out there, we also do a lot to make sure all information about the programme is available and easily accessible for journalists. 

Southbank Centre is my favourite space in London (in the world, really!), and consistently puts on an eclectic range of incredible events. How are events normally curated, and such a range of artists and events selected? Is it quite a rigorous process?

A: Our artistic team is incredibly collaborative and we are lucky to have Bengi Ünsal as Head of Contemporary Music at Southbank Centre and Lexy Morvaridi as Contemporary Music Programmer at the helm. They have such an amazing knowledge of the music scene and do a brilliant job at bringing a diverse range of cutting-edge artists from all genres around the world to our venues. Inclusivity and access is at the heart of everything Southbank Centre does, as is ensuring equality across our programme. 

Some of the best events/gigs I’ve ever been to have taken place at Southbank Centre (including seeing JD Samson and Mykki Blanco at MIA’s Meltdown Festival in 2017, Josh Homme at James Lavelle’s Meltdown in 2014, Laura Marling at Guy Garvey’s Meltdown in 2016, and Peaches at Royal Festival Hall last month!) – what have been your particular highlights since working there?

A: How to choose – there’s so much! My highlight here so far was seeing Moses Sumney perform in Royal Festival Hall last year. I was already a fan, but his voice was unimaginable live and he held the audience in a hypnotic trance for his entire set.

Southbank Centre may not be the first place people think of for more heavy/rocky gigs! But it’s hosted some of the most raucous artists including Iggy Pop, Peaches, Nine Inch Nails and lots more… How are these kind of events managed in such a historic, seated space?

A: That’s a good question. We have such a fantastic events and production team here who are the best in the business: they rise to every challenge and are experienced with dealing with the more high energy, daring gigs like Peaches in Royal Festival Hall last month! The venues themselves – despite being amazing historic buildings – are constantly updated to ensure the set-up is top of the range and able to accommodate musicians from all genres. As you’ve noted, we’ve seen everything from Nine Inch Nails to the hypnotic music of Stranger Things! The refurbishment of Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room in 2018 very much focused on improving access and infrastructure to enhance the experience for audience and performers alike.

Some of the spaces within Southbank Centre have recently been refurbished, can you tell us a bit about what changes have been made, and how this has affected the space?

A: Key for gigs has been the ability to transform the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer into a 1000 capacity space making Southbank Centre one of the only venues providing 2am licensed music on the South Bank. It’s now home to Concrete Lates – our monthly late night event in partnership with Boiler Room. In November, one of the stalwarts of the London jazz scene, and key member of UK jazz renegades Sons of Kemet, Theon Cross, will perform with a large band as Concrete Lates joins forces with EFG London Jazz Festival.

How have you found being womxn in the music/event industry? Are there any obstacles you’ve come across because of your gender?

A: I’m lucky enough to work with inspiring women all around me – in management positions within the press team, in the programming team and in the event management team. They all encourage me to aim high and prove there need not be a ceiling. It is noticeable to me though that there is a big inequality present in the music industry still. I’m very aware of my privileged position here in that sense, and that I am very lucky to work for an organisation that is so conscious of equality within their workforce. I do feel it’s so important that initiatives exist like PRS Foundation’s Keychange, and that we all take responsibility for helping others into the industry. Southbank Centre also hosts a regular industry Women In Music breakfast which I think is brilliant – you always leave feeling empowered and part of a growing community of powerful women!

And what advice would you give to other people wanting to get into the events industry?

A: Just to work hard and be willing to put yourself out there. People underestimate the value of being open and friendly too – you never know when you might want to reconnect with someone you’ve met in the past.
P: Network, ask advice, find a mentor, do your research!

As well as hosting events from some of the biggest names in music, Southbank Centre seems to consistently champion newer artists (as with your futuretense showcase), are there any upcoming bands/artists who’ve played there recently that you’d recommend?

A: Southbank Centre is really committed to developing artists and supporting the creative industries. We had the launch of futuretense with BBC Music Introducing earlier this month – a new initiative for audiences to discover their next favourite band for free, every Friday from 6pm – and I was blown away by Nikita Bassi’s performance. She had the most beautiful, powerful voice and her music was a brilliant fusion of cultures. I’d definitely recommend a listen and and booking to see her live now before she breaks.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

A: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us! We love working with Get In Her Ears and look forward to following this series.
P: And come on down to Southbank Centre! Over 40% of our programme is free, so we’re always encouraging people to come take a look at what’s going on; you never know what you might discover.

Thanks so much to Alex and Phoebe for answering our questions and being the first of our ‘Behind The Scenes’ feature! Find out more about everything going at Southbank Centre here.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

LIVE: Peaches @ Royal Festival Hall, 28.08.19

Wednesday, 28th September 2019: another day of exceptionally soul-destroying news about the state that the country/the world is in; a day when I particularly need a lift, something to restore my faith in humanity. I feel extremely grateful, then, that it is tonight that I get to see the legendary Peaches. All round pop and punk icon, pioneer of sex positive queer feminism, multi-media artist and exceptional musician, I’ve been wanting to see her live for years, and this mind blowing experience couldn’t have come at a better time. 

It also couldn’t have happened at a better venue; though it may not be considered the most ‘punk’ of places, the Royal Festival Hall is the perfect setting. With its epic, old time grandeur, high quality sound, and accessible, spaced out seating, you’re guaranteed a clear view and hearing from any angle, so all the usual gig worry of getting squashed, not being able to see/hear, and generally being uncomfortable or slightly stressed is taken away. I feel very honoured to be there, even before the show starts. 

And then the spectacle begins – an all womxn band filled with strings, brass and percussion begin to play as dancers (aka ‘Clusterfuck’) appear in skin tight bodysuits dressed as sperm and vaginas. Peaches isn’t even on the stage yet, and the euphoric sex-positive vibes are already flowing.

Introduced by vibrant performer ‘Anita Drink’, Peaches takes to the stage, covered in layers of hair, for masturbation-celebration anthem ‘Rub’. Whilst a fantastic, stimulating start, it is only when Peaches urges everyone to “rise with me”, asserting “don’t let the stiffness of your seat stop you doing anything”, that we’re really able to climax. At her direction, the crowd immediately loses inhibitions and is able to fully immerse themselves in the incredible, unifying experience that is There’s Only One Peach With The Hole In The Middle

As a fleet of living vaginas strut alongside her for ‘Vaginoplasty’, Peaches sheds her hair suit and commands our absolute attention with her flamboyant energy and magnetising charisma. Only a few songs in, and already the utterly inclusive and hugely empowering spirit oozing from Peaches has encompassed the entire venue, a sea of fans of all genders/ages/preferences celebrating the immense sense of freedom that being in the company of this performer induces. And no more so than when the modified lyrics of ‘I U She’ are chanted in unison – “Gender Fluid Make Some Noise”. 

After a costume change into what seems to be a rather fetching pink swimsuit, Peaches is greeted to the stage once again by some snazzy keytars for ‘Talk To Me’ and, as she climbs into the crowd, taking a sip of a fan’s drink, she exudes all that admirable uninhibited sense of quirky cool, before climbing back onto the stage. Joined by none other than Iggy Pop (in virtual form on a screen), she bounces into ‘Kick It’ with a relentless, angsty energy. 

Surrounded by raging guitars for ‘Rock Show’, the stage suddenly bursts into a frenzy, as dancers of all kinds swirl around her; a surrealist, truly joyous celebration of total inclusivity. From utter euphoria to the sound of discordant screeching strings, Peaches then reappears from an inflated, epic dress, in which dancers are squirming, for heartstring-tugging anthem ‘Free Drink Ticket’; showing herself capable of fusing together a rock show with an art installation; a classical ballet with a hip-hop battle. She is beyond genre, beyond gender, and beyond even my wildest expectations. 

Joined once again by Anita Drink taking Kim Gordon’s place for ‘Close Up’, Peaches then comes in for her ‘Diva Moment’. Sharing that it’s not the first time she’s been here – she’s supported Suede at David Bowie’s Meltdown event in 2002, seen Grace Jones perform, and even sung alongside Yoko Ono – her nostalgic interlude reminds us that she certainly has every right to a ‘Diva Moment’ or few, and now that she’s here in her own right for her own mind-altering show, she deserves every single bit of attention possible. 

Following the throbbing energy of ‘AA XXX’, Peaches swaps her hair suit for some cool shades and we’re treated to the utterly immersive, hypnotic hold of ‘Take You On’ performed on what looks two giant theramins (but are probably just lights). And, as she sings “you can’t mess with me”, I firmly believe this strong, impassioned performer standing before me. 

And just when you think things can’t get any more totally breathtaking, an aerial gymnast is elevated up into the rafters, spinning and balancing impressively, all the while mesmerising the crowd with the lasers shooting out of her bum hole – a perfect accompaniment as Peaches belts out “I’ve got light in places you didn’t know could shine”, leaving us questioning if there’s anything this innovative artist hasn’t got in store to wow us with. 

Then there’s the energy-fuelled boxing match-inspired dance moves of ‘Boys Wanna Be Her’; the all encompassing screeches of an incredible violinist’s strings as she’s carried off stage by a group of dancers; an absolutely immersive performance by one flexible male member (no pun intended..) of Clusterfuck to ‘I Feel Cream’; the totally unforgettable sight of two giant inflatable penises with someone dancing inside to ‘Dick In The Air’. There simply isn’t a moment when something completely spectacular isn’t taking place. 

Whether Peaches is being joined once more by Anita Drink as we all shake our tits along to ‘Shake Yer Dix’, or we’re witnessing a breathtaking tower of dancers as Peaches blasts out ‘I Mean Something’, every single second blows me away. 

I’m relieved, then, that there’s an encore. Peaches re-emerges as sparkly and spectacular as ever, plus a snazzy hat, for an impressive delivery of ‘Dumb Fuck, before going on to introduce every single person involved in the production of the show, including all stage managers and technicians; an admirable gesture for a performance of this scale, and one which only goes to demonstrate Peaches’ dedication to complete inclusivity. 

With everyone on stage together, the show closes with celebratory anthem, and perhaps Peaches’ most well-known offering, ‘Fuck The Pain Away’. And so ends the most innovative, empowering, inspiring and utterly joyous show I think I’ve ever seen. Restore my faith in humanity, Peaches certainly has. Whether surrounded by spangling dancers, living vaginas, a marching band, or simply standing alone, chest bare, Peaches encompasses a perfect celebration of everything queer, wonderful, weird and totally life-affirming.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Lydia Daniller

LIVE: Deep Throat Choir @ Purcell Rooms, Southbank Centre, 02.04.19

Following a breathtaking and truly immersive performance from opening act Mich Cota, Deep Throat Choir take to the stage in the intimate setting of The Purcell Room at The Southbank Centre, and my Tuesday immediately improves by 100%.

Since I first saw Deep Throat Choir here at The Southbank Centre for Women Of The World festival about five years ago, the Luisa Gerstein-lead group have grown in both size and power. What started as a small, acapella singing group accompanied by drums has now developed into a large collective of female-identifying musicians and vocalists, creating an uplifting force of nature in the sound they deliver.

Treating us to a mix of covers and originals – old and new – they start off with a dazzling new number before luscious offerings from their debut album Be OK, including the soaring harmonies of ‘The Wave’ and the exquisite soulful splendour of ‘Hey Mami’. Brightening a wet and windy evening with the matching oranges and pinks of their outfits accompanying the empowering sweeping vocal melodies they create together, they continue to take my breath away with a unique arrangement of one of last year’s innovative collaborations with Simian Mobile Disco.

Filling the intimate venue with their immense vocal majesty, I’m once again reminded that seeing Deep Throat Choir live never fails to inspire and lift the spirits. And, as they close the set with their shimmering rendition of Amy Winehouse’s ‘In My Bed’, I’m left with a euphoric sense of joy; epitomising the exceptional power of women coming together to create, they unite their voices to summon a force that is truly awe-inspiring.

Mari Lane
@marimindles