February 21, 2002
On December 16, 2001, singer/bassist Bianca Butthole (né Halstead) died in a car accident in New Orleans, LA. She was 36 years old. Bianca was previously in the band Butt Trumpet before forming Betty Blowtorch in 1998.
Betty Blowtorch was my personal "great white hope," so to speak. They are in the same vein as L7, Babes in Toyland, Hole, 7 Year Bitch, the Plasmatics, the Lunachicks and other bands that I hopelessly and vigorously jerk off to. But there's one big difference Betty Blowtorch weren't on hiatus and/or disbanded. They were ripping shit up here and now. This band was the answer to everything I'd been praying for. They were churning out a blistering tincture of metal, rock 'n' roll, and punk.
They had a sleaze factor (leather pants, tattoos, headbangin' hair, songs about cheap sex and Lita Ford) that was missing from so many rock bands, the "fuck you, fuck me" attitude, and the chops to back everything up. Sleater-Kinney I love them. The Butchies are fantastic. The Donnas kick ass. But they're not dirty or dangerous. Those are two qualities I admire in music. When Bianca roared, "Watch out for us baby, we're hell on wheels," you actually believed her.
And yet, when the band was offstage and mingling in the crowd, they were welcoming, playful, and genuinely cool folks. Yes, Betty Blowtorch were going to bring Bitch Rock to the forefront (well, closer to the forefront), and I was going to be gloriously sore from reveling in the ruckus.
So it goes. I headed over to Luxx in Williamsburg on February 12, 2002 to join others in paying tribute to Bianca's life and music. Money from the benefit went to help Bianca's family pay for funeral arrangements. Betty Blowtorch's album, Are You Man Enough?, charged out of the speakers as many a rocker clad in black leather congregated for bands and beers, all in the name of Bianca Butthole. A southern-style r'n'r band from New Orleans called Supagroup was onstage tossing off hot lick after hot lick. Supagroup played with Blowtorch on the night of their last gig. Then Bantam took the stage.
Bantam is the new band from Gina of the Lunachicks. The band rested entirely on Gina's wicked guitar playing and gruff screams. She was a lot less wild-looking without the Lunachicks surrounding her. There were a dozen or so other bands that were on the bill including the Firegods (featuring Sean from the Toilet Boys), Candy Ass, and a special re-union show by Helldorado featuring Nashville Pussy bassist Tracy Almazan and Blare N. Bitch of Betty Blowtorch. The turnout was strong, and the support shown for Bianca and her friends and family was a utopian example of the music community coming together. From the NY Rock family, rest in peace, Bianca, and thank you.
NY Metropolis Music Festival, February 14-17, 2002
Big up to Brooklyn! The NY Metropolis music fest grabbed a slew of bands and packed all the venues in Brooklyn for four glorious nights, starting with everyone's favorite holiday, Valentine's Day. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank NO ONE for giving me that lovely box of invisible chocolates. Though they gave me pretend heartburn, I appreciated the imaginary gesture. Moving on. Saturday night at Northsix featured Crowns on 45 (by now you should know that I champion them),
Palomar, the Operators (all the way from Boston, re-tahd!), Bats and Mice, and the Hissyfits. C45 were dope, as usual. No need to reiterate what I've said before. Palomar are led by quite possibly the most caffeinated frontwoman in the entire city. Nervous chatter (with her band members, with the crowd, with the audio guys) flew between each song, and her strumming could rival a hummingbird's wings. The high, sweet, good-ship-lollypopish vocals cutting through the full-throttle r'n'r brought to mind
Velocity Girl (what the hell ever happened to that band, anyway?) and a bastard child of the Ramones and the Waitresses. Viva Palomar. The Operators appeared on the Ladyfest East compilation album (for the love of Jezebel, you should own it by now), but their charming live performance is your best bet. What else can you say about a band who wrote a song about Charlie Brown on Valentine's Day? Bats and Mice were the only all-boy group on the bill (how many times have you read that statement?) and they more or less sounded like bats cleaving mouse carcasses harsh and dark, but pretty cool.
Festivals are great and all; you see some awesome bands on one bill, but the first band usually gets onstage at 8:30 pm, and the last band at 12:30 am. You have to be hardcore to last through four hours of continuous live music in a dark venue. Sadly, I am not.
Le Tigre at Warsaw, January 24, 2002
Bikini Kill, they ain't. That's for damn sure. Le Tigre's Kathleen Hanna (ex-Bikini Kill frontwoman and Riot-Grrrl's sanctioned wet nurse), Johanna Fateman, and JD Samson proclaim, "For the ladies and the fags, yeah, we're the band with the rollerskate jams" on the first track of their second album Feminist Sweepstakes. And leave it to Hanna to incorporate pink sequin armbands into an electro-riot-punk dance routine and make it cool.
Le Tigre are the proverbial "next step" in the ladder of political performance art. You start with punk, then you ask the question, "What would Yoko Ono do?" and soon, you're boppin' alongside turntables with two friends in swanky matching outfits. Hey, quit snickering! This is art, damn it! Actually, no one was having a better laugh than Hanna herself. Le Tigre are more about rallying and having a good time in the company of other like-minded individuals than Bikini Kill were about overturning the tables of conventional wisdom. It's as easy to dance with Le Tigre as it is to scream with Bikini Kill. Their live performance proved it. Fateman looked like a wasted Vegas reject as she flopped around the stage, banged on her bass, and played Chewbacca to Hanna's cheerleading Hans Solo. To complete the Star Wars metaphor, newcomer JD Samson (who replaced indie filmmaker Sadie Benning) was an energetic Ewok. The crowd was buzzing along with songs like "F.Y.R.," "Hot Topic," "Well
Well Well," "My My Metrocard," and "Keep On Living." Le Tigre in concert: Where every night is ladies' night.
Send This Page to a Friend Join Our Mailing List Current Stories
Classified Ads Music News NYC Gig Listings
More NY Rock Confidential Installments:
by Jeanne Fury:
Jan. '02: Sam Bisbee
Dec. '01: El Vez and Tammy Faye Starlite
Nov. '01: Tracy and the Plastics, Crowns on 45
Oct. '01: Reid Paley
Sept. '01: Ladyfest East
Aug. '01: Betty Blowtorch and Candy Ass
Jul. '01: Porcupine Tree
May '01: Ladyfest East Benefit, the Bellrays and the Greenhornes
Apr. '01: She-Rock-O-Rama, Blast Furnace
Mar. '01: Babe the Blue Ox, the Gossip, Knoxville Girls, White Stripes
Feb. '01: Sarah Dougher, Glen Phillips and John Mayer
Jan. '01: Melissa Ferrick
Dec. '00: Joy Askew
Nov. '00: Natasha and the MGB
Oct. '00: Heather Eatman
Aug. '00: Miracle of '86, Ultimate Fakebook, Sit n' Spin
July '00: Chickfest 2000
by Mistress Persephone:
Apr '00: Joan Jett and Reverend Horton Heat
Feb '00: Elvis tribute at the Continental featuring Mr. Monster, Needlehead, X-Possibles
Dec '99: The Serpenteens
Oct '99: Misfits
by Miss Adena:
Aug '99: Cabaret
July '99: Ancel and the Electric Church
June '99: Tuuli from Toronto rocks CBGB
May '99: The Rise and Fall of Bikini Contest
by Didi Delicious:
01/11/99: the Velvet Mafia
12/04/98: the Misfits
10/19/98: Didi interviews DJ Chumley and DJ Quick
09/01/98: Hellfire '98 (benefit for NY Underground Film Festival) featuring Double Dong and Go-Go Pup
07/28/98: Mad Daddys, Nina Hagen, Blondie
06/04/98: the first annual New York City Tattoo Convention
05/02/98: Didi's S&M Special with Flesh Fetish
03/28/98: No More Tears and Soft Parade
02/27/98: Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach, Mick Rock, Lenny Kaye, ex-Foreigner Mick Jones, ex-Hanoi Rocks Michael Monroe, the new Max's Kansas City, Joy Ryder, Misstress Formika
01/30/98: King Norris, Karen Black, more
12/26/97: Ramones, The Dictators, The Undead, more
11/29/97-12/11/97: Sexus, Princess Superstar, more
09/19/97-10/26/97: Blowtop, Crazy Raymond & the Watchdogs, more
05/21/97-08/17/97: Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy, Turbo A.C.s, Waldos, Sisters Grimm, The Independents, more
01/18/97-03/30/97: Sea Monster, Speed McQueen, Bombshell, Dee Dee Ramone, Jayne County, more
09/19/96-12/19/96: Coyote Shivers, The Living Daylights, more
07/23/96-09/09/96: Electric Frankenstein, The Wild Bunch, more
Visit our friends at NY Waste!