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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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