Friday, 25 October 2013

CLITROCK 3 - THE PEARL HARTS + DANA JADE + DEUX FURIEUSES (two reviews, updated with pics)

An event to raise awareness of FGM. All funds raised went to Daughters Of Eve.
Updated with pics (b/w) by Mark Hanson
Two reviews of the night, check out Suzan Randal's below. Suzan was careful enough (she works for the government) to write when sober.

Contact for mo' info on this and future events

Myself and a guy from the U.S., Mark got there crazy early and so started drinking some time before even tune-up. It has to be said I was a little new to the subject of the evening. I was just there to see some great female bands and wasn't disappointed. Ironically it was really refreshing, after recent twerking controversy, to have overt female sexuality take a back seat to the music. I honestly think I wouldn't have enjoyed these bands any less if they all looked like Dumpy's Rusty Nuts.


At Reading '92 as part of Nirvana's prescribed playlist for the Sunday you could be amused by Shonen Knife dressing up as schoolgirls and playing Black Sabbath songs about cats. It was very funny and great music, huge entertainment, if a bit silly.

The Pearl Harts is where 20 years of gender progress gets you, as there is not much silly about the Pearl Harts, a young looking but deadly serious two piece playing deadly serious rock.

From starting off lyrically with Joan Jett, The Donnas etc as a base, they have obviously branched out musically with Tony Iommi guitar and even a bit of Bill Ward drums (?) even at the end. The planet splitting riffage was all their own material I think, and not a trace of girly irony. Even looks wise - with the long hair and Charles Manson era threads and jewelry - they were channeling early Sabbs.

What would you call it? Girl's Bedroom Baroque? Is that condescension? I was fighting off waves of good natured condescension throughout The Pearl Hart's set. I met them afterwards and just didn't know what to say - it felt like a scene from American Gothic : Coven (which I'm enjoying right now). Tiny tiny girls that looked like giants on stage - kind of like meeting your bad sister's scary daughters - all you can think to do is ask them out for ice cream - and all they want to do is wreck your house and firebomb your car.
They would make a blistering support band for Black Moth
Even more impressed to find Pearl Hart's promo contains heavy clippage from TIMES SQUARE, quite an obscure but brilliant 80s cult movie I discovered at spiritual home the Scala decades ago. It should be noted they manfully struggled with sound cutting out several times in first few songs, which meant we got to hear them twice, which was no bad thing,


Dana is organiser for the night, everyone seemed to know her but luckily I don't need to be nice. This band could have headlined the event pretty easily. A wildly unpredictable fusion band that could be mistaken for a London Yeah Yeah Yeah's, there was absolutely nothing dull about Dana Jade and her band - and from the linking moments between songs and her general contribution as compare you'd think they have a chance at stand up as well. Parts of this felt like a Variety act, and it was good to have a bit of light relief between the first and last bands.

Musically this was surprisingly heavy but with a great pop angle (this is the sort of act that is crucified in the recording studio into being a novelty pop band). Despite looking a little unpredictable DJ were very tight and played as if they have been on tour for a while, despite being put together at short notice apparently - the drummer was on loan from Goldfrapp (Dana Jade is "more fun" apparently).

Great tunes, very dancy and featuring highlights like punk covers of M.I.A. songs. Again like the PH, there was no winking ironic Dread Zeppelin hilarity about them, they were just straight covers done with a new twist. Dana's great voice constantly reminded me of Karen O and the band have a similar warmth and inclusiveness to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who are similarly bonkers unpredictable in terms of look, feel and genre.

Late on in the tiny but great venue (Roadtrip &The Workshop in Old Street) Grolsch now flowed like it was the Cafe Muchen, 1986. By the time one of several gorgeous Afro-London princesses stood up to give a moving speach about FGM I was too far gone to take anything with the requisite amounts of respect so I'll have to cover that in more detail another time. Suffice to say FGM is a terrible issue that needs a lot more attention, and just getting angry and shouting at the tv is not very constructive.


Deux Furieuses I've already seen a lot, the band must be sick of seeing me in the audience. Tonight they seemed glistening with terrible purpose but apparently it was because singer guitar Ros Cairney had a fever and was ill. They should maybe play with a fever more often, as this was the best I've seen them.

For those not in the know Deux Furieuses are a blood curdlingly efficient two piece that play like they have returned from the grave to avenge some ancient grievance a' la the Abominable Dr Phibes.
And FGM actually would be a pretty suitable ancient grievance if you had to pick one.

Comparison with Angry V era PJ Harvey is often made but if anything they are even more cut back and angry even than that era PJ. With slightly more cynical detachment they could be The Stooges, or more mania they could be The White Stripes.
For me they need an extra dimension somehow, maybe they should spread their wings with some surprising covers maybe (like Dana Jade). I was trying to think of a Paloma Faith song and Public Enemy popped into my head - Sophisticated Bitch and She Watch Channel Zero are both pretty misogynistic but great songs - If I was DF's manager I've try and get them DF to conquer those in some way. Is there some Chris Brown track DF could tear asunder with bitter irony?

Personal note
Been renting in London for a long summer now while my house is reconstructed on Exmoor. Was getting a bit jaded about London, and have been getting reclusive again. I think though that was mainly a problem with the various class systems developing within Islington - this night out completely recharged my batteries, thanks everyone

I knew I'd asked Suzan for something.. it turns out it was another review

It’s the first time I’ve arrived at a gig and been invited to enter a vagina, but then this was Clit Rock 3. There were three all-female bands on the bill at Roadtrip &The Workshop in Old Street. The event, though,  was so-named as it was held to raise awareness and funds to end female genital mutilation (FGM).
It’s a heavy, heartbreaking subject. So how was this night of rock going to play?
First up on the small stage were the Pearl Harts, a young duo with 60s-style hair swinging over guitar and drums, moody and melodic, the freshness of their vocals wafting around the basement bar. It was a great start.
They were followed by Clit Rock founder Dana Jade with her band. Funny, flirty and fabulous, she brought soca punk to Shoreditch, daring the audience to dance. This was an intimate gig and it was getting hot down there. Thoughts of Trinidad were washed down with cold beer.
Then to the headline act, Deux Furieuses. I’ve seen this band a few times already – I was wearing the slightly tight vest – and am still in awe at thepower produced by this  pumping two piece. Slick and sassy, they had the crowd at the opening guitar riff and kept us with songs like Now You’re Gonna Listen. We were listening. Ros Cairney’s clear, commanding vocals hit their peak with the raw emotion of anti-rape song, Are We Sexy Enough? On drums, La Batteuse Furieuse made amazing drumming look like the most natural thing in the world.
I heard someone say that in addition to being brilliant musicians, Deux Furieuses seem like really nice people. The same could have been said of everyone there that night.
At times throughout the gig, we were reminded of our reason for being there.  Two FGM survivors, from campaign group Daughters of Eve, briefly took to the stage to share their message. Their bravery and dignity were breathtaking, and the whole crowd, men and women, were with them.
Clit Rock 3 got it right.
-Suzan Lindsay Randle
An event to raise awareness of FGM. All funds raised went to Daughters Of Eve.

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