Huge congratulations to She Makes War, the winner of the Just A Girl competition! She Makes War will be playing at Ladyfest Ten on Sat 13th November at The Relentless Garage, alongside some incredible artists including new project from Le Tigre‘s JD Samson, MEN! A thoroughly deserved win by an amazing artist, I am sure you will all agree!
After months of submissions, deliberations, votes, comments, soul-nourishing support and discovering an array of the most gloriously talented artists, last Saturday saw the live final of the Just A Girl competition and cripes, was it a corker! The six finalists of Just A Girl (as voted in by the public) took to the stage at The Horatia pub and treated the 200 strong crowd to an evening of varied and accomplished lady-made music in support of Ladyfest Ten.
Opening the night are the exotic Birds of Paradise: bedecked in hand-made satin costumes, and oozing theatricality from every pore, the three-piece soar through a tight set punctuated with dramatic, throaty vocals, distorted strings, timeless keys and pounding drums. Huge cheers from the crowd close their set, as the inimitable She Makes War takes to the stage. Wrapped in a white-tiger hood (with ears no less), She Makes War launches into her delectable brand of gloom-pop, with loop pedals and layered vocals swelling to fill the whole venue. Armed with her trademark uke, she quips and smiles her way through the set, causing a small stampede as the audience rush to the stage to place their votes.
Minnie Birch are up next: three acoustic beauties unleashing their sweet sweet melodic tales upon the room with devastating effect. Working in perfect harmony, the girls once again demonstrate the charm that cast a spell on the judges and voting public earlier in the competition. Effortless vocals and note-perfect strumming provide the backdrop for beautiful storytelling, and appreciate murmers sweep through the crowd. Following this impressive display are Amazon Molly: rioutous, rackety, upbeat grrrl noise which sets the room moving within seconds. With all five band members impressively crammed onto the tiny stage, the group race through their set, their charming lyrics and betwixt song chatter immediately radiating warmth. Competition entry Brain Sex is a little piece of genius, and it’s not hard to see this band garnering a loyal and longstanding following.
Electro-foxes GLDGRVZ are the next act to perform. Armed with a minimum of instrumentation and two delicious throaty vocals, the London-based duo instantly grab the audience’s attention. Moody lyrics, slick songwriting and inimitable stage-presence abound, and the pair laugh and joke their way through each track. Watch out for these ladies – they are bound to make waves. Finishing up the live performances is Baby Streuth – a one-woman songwriting machine (playing a Bruce Springsteen track during soundcheck, to rapturous applause) who not only pulled together this project just for the competition, but also stepped in at the eleventh hour when the ace Blue Cherrys were unable to make a performance. Her impressive guitar skills, and blues-tinged songs prove a resounding hit, and her huge, scratchy vocals hit the crowd like a sucker punch.
Holding the performances together is wonderful compere and comedienne Zoe Grisedale: littering her introductions with expletives, and dedicating the entire evening to the memory of Slits founder Ari Up, Zoe commands the room with ease, firing up the crowd after each performance. The night takes a break as all the votes are counted and the judges cast their deciding votes, and minutes later, the winner is announced! She Makes War takes back to the stage, and invites the audience to join in as she wraps up an incredible evening.
Many visits are made to the moustache bar and tattoo parlour, hosted by Ladyfest Ten co-ordinator Nikki Shaill, and every single sweet treat (provided by Ladyfest Tenners Rose and Elizabeth) are gobbled up before the night is out. We raised an impressive £800 for Ladyfest Ten too! Crikey moses.
She Makes War has so kindly put together this video of the night, for those of you who were unable to make it down!
Thank you so much to everyone who came down and showed their support not only for these brilliant acts, but also to Ladyfest Ten. It was genuinely heart-warming to be at such a positive and supportive show, and the girls are is looking forward to hosting more gigs like this! A huge shout out goes to our wonderful judges who have dedicated a lot of time and thought to this competition: Camilla Pia, Viv Albertine, Charlotte Richardson Andrews and Ruth Barnes – a massive hats off to you. I’d also like to say an enormous thank you to Bea for stage managing the event, to Rosie and Brooke who so charmingly tended the door and sold raffle tickets, to Katie for so diligently collating the scores, to Samson for tending to the sound all evening, to Melissa, Wunmi and Chris for photographing the event and to everyone else who made this the amazing experience it was.
Look out for live gig galleries soon!
Photography by Chris Brock for the girls are.