Sunday, 26 June 2011

Review of Ladyfest Essex

Thanks to my lovely friend Rachel, for this great review!

Last Saturday brought Ladyfest Essex, the newest incarnation of the DIY festival celebrating women's creativity, art and music. This Ladyfest was being held in aid of Refuge, the domestic abuse charity, and had a very exciting line-up of local bands. My boyfriend and I took the train down from Cambridge and got to the Railway Hotel for about 4pm, a couple of hours into the all-day schedule.

In the upstairs room of the Railway, decorated with pink balloons and posters, stalls lined the walls. There were ceramics, knitting and zines on sale, as well as a craft table and hand-made upcycled clothing. I picked up a copy of Noisy with a free CD and issue 1 of Ste McCabe's Queers Make Music. The atmosphere was quiet but very friendly. We had arrived just in time to hear a quick talk by a Refuge representative, who told us about the work the charity does and mentioned that the women's sector is very underfunded. Next up were the three female poets of Sundown Arts. Jo Overfield's snappy delivery matched her funny, offbeat poems. Ray Morgan gave us wryly observed tales of commuter life and office temping, and Cherryl Scott recited from memory several moving pieces about surviving domestic abuse.

Things quietened down a little until the music began at 8pm. My boyfriend and I had delicious beanburgers downstairs, enjoying the fact that the Railway Hotel is the only completely vegetarian/vegan pub in Essex, so that we were completely refuelled when Ten Tigers came onstage. Ramshackle, charming and terribly catchy, Ten Tigers are one of my favourite live bands and they didn't disappoint, despite technical issues. They kickstarted the festival with 82, played a metal-sounding version of "our big feminist anthem" Superlucky and debuted a new song with the chorus, "She'll never love you as much as she loves Jesus!"

The next band were Candy Panic Attack, a three-piece who seem to make much more noise than three people should be able to. They rattled through their set of super-short punk-influenced tunes that ordered, not invited, dancing. After them were Calico, were a very different proposition. Playing without their drummer, they delivered a set of tight songs made striking by the almost spooky vocal harmonies of singers Shel and Lauren. They were hypnotic and marvellous.

The Scarlet Echo, next up, were sharp, stylish and electric. They were incredibly energetic onstage, playing ska-tinged rock enhanced by Hannah's unusual voice. Following them were Death of the Elephant, one of the bands I had been most keen to see. Unfortunately, because of the previous technical problems, they had to shorten their set, but what they fit in was fantastic, noisy but melodic riot grrl/garage band songs, including Trypticon, with its memorable intro: "She's got a new toy and she's scared she'll break it..."

The final group of the evening, Le Monnier, had been at the festival for the entire day (I know, because I had been admiring singer/bassist Alexandra's amazing dress for the entire day) and for a short, tense while it looked like the scheduling problems would deprive them of their slot! Luckily this didn't happen and the band rocked the stage with the heaviest sound of the day. The new single, Con Amor Siempre, sounded great: it's from the album Russian Doll Life, out in October, and I can't wait for it. Alexandra dedicated their last song, Kingyo, to the Ladyfest organiser Hayley Foster da Silva.

Ladyfest Essex was a great chance to celebrate both women in art and music, and the diversity of the Essex music scene. It was great fun and I'm really happy I could attend. Hopefully there will be many more in future years!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

this weeks playlist

Cutaways- Milo of Kroton

The Pretenders- My City Was Gone

The Joy Formidable- Greyhounds in the Slips

Within Temptation- All I Need

Metric- Poster of a Girl

Sohodolls- Prince Harry

Kate Nash- Skeleton Song

Kittie- Flower of Flesh and Blood

Elastica- All Nighter

Transvision Vamp- Baby I Don't Care

Lauren Harris- See Through

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- Change the World

Le Tigre- Tell You Now

Blonde Redhead- Top Ranking

Flyleaf- Sorrow

Madonna- Like A Virgin

Candie Payne- By Tomorrow

Nina Hagen- Iki Maska

CSS- Music is My Hot Hot Sex

Helen's Evil Twin- Stop Talking

The Brownies- Violence

Dirty Love- What Do Ya Want

Guano Apes- Allies

The Ting Tings- Great DJ

Working Class Heroes- The End

Natalie Imbruglia- Big Mistake

Harry- Push It (Real Good)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

New Music Wanted!

Are you in a bloody fantastic female fronted or all female band that I should be listening to?
Then I need you!
I need fresh music to play on my show 'Pigtails and Army Boots'! You will be played on several stations including the fantastic ARFM! If you have music you think could fit in with the likes of Bikini Kill, Joan Jett, Robots in Disguise and others, then send me info on your band and a mp3 or two to

*plus!* If you would like me to review your EP/Album on this blog, and if it really impresses me I may feature you as Artist of the Month, let me know if you would like to do this.
and also if you are able to travel to Southend on Sea, Essex (UK) there are also interview possibilities.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

This Weeks Playlist

The Donnas- Girl Talk

Dead Disco- Automatic

Tsunami Bomb- Say It If You Mean It

The Dresden Dolls- Girl Anachronism

Fleetwood Mac- Landslide

Suzanne Vega- Zephyr and I

Eurythmics- Thorn In My Side

Morcheeba- Shallow End

Wetdog- Jam Dodger B

Lily Allen- Shame For You

The Cardigans- Hanging Around

Gwen Stefani- What You Waiting For

Shonen Knife- I Am A Cat

The Birthday Massacre- The Dream

The Runaways- Is It Day Or Night?

Suzi Quatro- Devil Gate Drive

The Dollyrots- Nobody Else

The Raveonettes- Dead Sound

Siouxsie and The Banshees- Peek A Boo

Bikini Kill- Rebel Girl

Candy Panic Attack- Heartbreaker

Argon 40- Stay

Dirty Love- Trashed

Robots in Disguise- DJ's Got A Gun

Death of the Elephant- 2N222

Le Monnier- Con Amor Siempre

Scarling- Band Aid Covers The Bullet Hole

Florence and the Machine- Drumming Song

Patti Smith- Everybody Wants to Rule The World

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ladyfest Essex- the aftermath!

Finally after spending what seems to be forever, Ladyfest Essex is over and done with!
There was several logistic issues that I won't go into depth about that made the last week even more stressful but we got there in the end, I won't write a full on review as I was too busy trying to get everything to run smoothly but I will give some sort of report as to how it went!

I arrived at the venue at about 12.45pm and met one of my volunteers- Christine. We got ourselves upstairs and started setting up the room, putting the refuge posters up, and getting the huge Ladyfest Essex banner pinned up to the bar (it managed to last most of day but started falling down later in the evening)! Shortly Cara, another volunteer arrived and helped to get all the balloons up as well. I set up the door table and got tables ready for the people who couldn't bring their own. The people with the tables started arriving- we had Jessica from Refuge, Kelly who makes clothes, Debbie who could do energising massages, a craft area set up by my friend Diana and a stall for myself with my zines and some promotion for my show and the feminist group I want to set up.

Sadly it was pretty quiet during the day, I'm not sure if it was the rain, or the fact that the London Slutwalk Protest was also happening. Quite a few of my friends made an appearence though which was really nice.
Just about 4, I got Jessica to do her talk about Refuge, she told us how the women's sector is seriously underfunded and how important events like this were, and shocking statistics of just how many women suffer domestic abuse- one in four women will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime and two women are killed each week.

Shortly after the talk, the Sundown Arts poetry ladies arrived, and we treated to some poems from all three, that were both funny and sad, they were great!

Luckily the Railway is a vegan/vegetarian pub now, so I went and grabbed myself a rather yummy vegan burger and potatoes before going back up and getting ready for the music, bands started arriving and the drumkit got set up.

Then more people started to turn up, some people I knew, some I didn't.
There was a delayed start thanks to a non working microphone, but first up were Ten Tigers, who played a great set as always even debuting a new song.
Candy Panic Attack blistered their way through an angsty, punky/riot grrrl set, Calico had to play acoustic as their drummer let them down at the last minute, but I loved them, the singers had amazing voices, I'd not seen them before, but I'm quite keen to see them in full band mode now :)
The Scarlet Echo were fun and energetic, it was kind of a shame, the audience seemed to be sitting and standing on the sides most of the time.
Death of the Elephant did as great as they always do.
Annoyingly, the sound guy started taking everything down as it was getting to 11pm and we were running behind so Le Monnier still hadn't played, I had to tell him I'd been told we could go till 11.3o especially as the band had travelled 2 hours to get here, but he hadn't been told and had to go and check, so by the time Le Monnier came on they had to play a really short set :( they were as amazing as I thought they would be though, and they dedicated 'Kingyo' to me :D

Overall it was a positive day and we made £130 for Refuge! If you want to donate some more just go to

I've got photos posted on my Facebook and Tumblr, and also some videos on Tumblr, I'll probably post them here and on all the Ladyfest pages over the next week, but for now I'm

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Ladyfest Essex- less than a week to go!

if you can't make it, you can still donate to Refuge! :

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

This Weeks playlist

Santigold- Lights Out

Tegan and Sara- Call it Off

The Kills- Tape Song

Imelda May- Psycho

No Doubt- Full Circle

Propaganda- P Machinery

Scarling- Band Aid Covers The Bullet Hole

Be Your Own Pet- Bicycle Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle

Le Monnier- Con Amor Siempre

You Say Party- Moon

Heart- Secret

Peaches- The Inch

The Naked and Famous- Punching in a Dream

Alanis Morissette- Straitjacket

Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Gold Lion

Chrome Hoof- Symbolic 180

New Young Pony Club- Talking Talking

Florence and The Machine- Dog Days Are Over

Hole- Heaven Tonight

Mother Mother- Touch Up

Portishead- Wandering Star

Salt N Pepa- Push It

Driver- Change Your Ways

Hazard County Girls- Red Light

Dirty Love- I Believe in You

Martha and The Muffins- Echo Beach

Paramore- Let The Flames Begin

Garbage- Androgyny

Cyndi Lauper- What's Going On