On January 11th, women of rock, and more specifically old school punk rock, took the stage at Zebulon in Frogtown in celebration of the Women of Rock Oral History Project. For this project, Tanya Pearson has collected more than 30 interviews with women musicians like Lydia Lunch, Alice Bag, Exene, and Donita Sparks, which are archived at Smith College.
The evening started off with a series of panels including musicians like Phranc, Kristin Hersh and Patty Schemel. Read our panel coverage here. Live musical sets were shorter than we might have liked, but it allowed more musicians to play. Phranc (“The Folksinger”) was as good as always, mixing inspirational stage patter into her songs, accompanied only by her acoustic guitar. Neon Music, dressed like a 70s Debbie Harry, brought some heavy synth vibes to the show. Lo-fi queen Azalia Snail could go straight from seriously spacy noise. made spacier by her cool multicolored glowing guitar pick, to gentle and moving ballads.
Alice Bag organized an all-woman supergroup with Patty Schemel, Eva Gardner, Lysa Flores, Tanya Pearson. Bassist Eva Gardner was a standout, blowing audience member’s minds. Alice Bag, now in her retirement years, never flags. She gives every song her all, head-banging and thrashing around like a teenager. Her songs are anthemic, and she seems like she could incite a revolution. Maybe she will. Unlike many musicians that rely heavily on their old ouvre, Alice Bag’s sing-along hit of the night was her recent single, “No Means No.”
Legal Weapon, who flew in original guitarist Brian Hansen especially for this gig, made it worth his trip. He is a fantastic guitar player, and brought back the old days. Singer Kat Arthur was a trouper, making sure the show went on in spite of a serious upper respiratory infection. They brought the house down when they granted the audience’s shouts for “Equalizer.”