I love women. I love women so much that if I were allowed to love only one thing for the rest of my life, it would most certainly be women. And I especially love women who like to rock (mostly because they are more likely to love me).
It can therefore be easily concluded that when Aradia held their Rock 4 Choice Benefit at Consolidated Works on December 10th, I was there. I was there to see women rock, and I left with plenty to sing about. Oh, women, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- I love it when women don't embarrass themselves by being the sloppy opening act. Because the Ironically named Ambitious Career Woman comprised only men, they succeeded in fostering my love for women by proving the old adage, "Never send a man to do a woman's job."
- I love brave women. Following Ambitious Career Woman was a spoken-word performance by Marya Sea Kaminski through which she thankfully managed to cleanse the palette of Ambitious Career Woman's non-womanness and set the tone for the rest of the evening. Dolled up in a slinky black dress and a Stetson, and packing a shotgun bigger than the collective egos of all the men present, Marya packed a textual wollop that shocked and awed. She told stories that might have come from the past but kept a close eye on the future; a narrative of a woman scorned who refused to be beaten. She embodied a new feminism in which women are not successful in spite of the fact that they are different from men, but because of it. I love her.
- I love talented women. Next up, The Bad Things performed a blend of what can only be described as Drinkin' Music. Ditty after ditty was churned out by this motley crew of musicians, who in their Cool Instrument Arsenal regularly employ banjo, accordian, stand-up bass, and makeshift percussion consisting primarily of pots and pans played by Token Woman Miss Holli. The band as a whole was certainly talented, and the quirky tunes succeeded in making everyone want another beer, but unfortunately for the praise that is ready and waiting to be heaped upon them, this reporter developed a nasty case of tunnel vision through which he was only able to see Miss Holli as she pounded her solitary drum into a proverbial pulp. When she sang it was with the voice of an angel (albeit a drunken one, representing the spirit of The Bad Things who were still performing somewhere in the distance), and over the course of the half-hour set, I came to realize that I love her so desperately, I have since filed a preemptive restraining order against myself to keep her safe.
- I love devoted women. Jessie S.K. is a take-charge kind of gal. In addition to fronting rocks-too-hard-to-be-a-girl-band Ripley, she is also an advocate of women's rights issues in the community, including helping to organize this very benefit (speaking of organizing benefits, did I mention that Jessie is also organizing Ladyfest this year?). But her devotion shines through most in the music. Deeply rooted in the blues, with sometimes obvious nods to pioneering female rock acts of the past two decades, Ripley doesn't play girl music so much as music from a woman's point of view. It's music that moves and that grooves, and the biting lyrics from the dark soul with the piercing eyes make you hope that you haven't done anything wrong, 'cause if you have, Ripley will getcha. I love them the way I loved my Comparative Literature professor, with a mix of lust and shame. I hope Jessie doesn't catch on.
- I love strong women. Headliners Ms. Led came for one reason and one reason only: to RAWK. Okay okay okay so they are also politically active feminists and stuff, but besides that — they TOTALLY SHRED. Ms. Led plays with more intensity than most so-called 'hardcore' bands, but all the while the melody rides shotgun, making even the most up-tempo songs as easy to sway to as to thrash to. Singing with such power that you can't understand why she doesn't have to scream, singer/guitarist Lesli Wood proves once and for all that girls do not need separate standards to rock to. I love her so much and I would like it if someday she would beat me up. Hot.