She-Rock-O-Rama, a benefit for Safe Horizon,
99% Pure Pussy at Acme Underground, 3/25/01
She-Rock-O-Rama was a gathering of some of New York City's hardest rocking girl bands playing a show to raise consciousness (read: cold, hard cash) for Safe Horizon, New York City's largest victim service organization. Sponsors included NYRock.com, Sam Ash, PsychoChick.com, Ernie Ball, Online TV. Oh yeah, and in the house was Chip, the ex-drummer of the Lunachicks, so that was pretty damn cool in and of itself.
Organized by Bonnie and Sandy of Bitchcat, She-Rock was a chance to experience the efforts of a group of socially conscious people working for their beliefs. See, I have a teeny problem with giant benefit shows like the Tibetan Freedom Concert and its predecessors like Live Aid. The person who thinks up the project usually has buckets of cash, a record contract and a major corporation supporting them. I'd love to think that those mega-concerts are about human rights and the power of music, but there's an inescapable funny aftertaste that stunts the events. Major labels get in on the action, and there are concerns about cash flow and aggressive sales tactics. She-Rock was a result of hard-working people going out on their own to get sponsors and publicity.
Emcee for the evening, Maya mentioned that we should thank the likes of Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde and Joan Jett for being inspirations to all of the bands. One problem with that list: those three women played with men (a little slack for Her Highness, who started with the Runaways). I think only one of the bands playing She-Rock had a male member (ahem). Ninety-nine percent pure pussy fueled the fire. So maybe we should thank bands like the Slits and Girlschool, instead. Or, maybe Maya should've thanked the Catholic Girls, for cryin' out loud. Not only were they on the bill for the night, but they were also before girl bands like the Go-Go's and Hole.
The Catholic Girls toured with the Kinks and Tom Petty, but '80s radio just couldn't get down with the girls because you know, there was Dokken to be played, man.
She-Rock featured working-class bands whose homes you'll probably never see on an episode of MTV's "Cribs." Galvanized, Dirty Mary, Sympathetic Magic, Bitchcat, Battershell and the Catholic Girls ripped through their sets and offered a pretty diverse taste of what a girl and an instrument can sound like. Galvanized and Dirty Mary provided the punk 'n' nasty; Sympathetic Magic took the gothic end; Bitchcat are on the jagged metal side of things; Battershell worked the pop-punk and the Catholic Girls were the f'in rock 'n' rollers. Like a Girl Scout meeting with beer and head-banging, everyone did their part.
In the end, She-Rock raised $1,200 for Safe Horizon (www.safehorizon.org) and sent everyone home with ringing ears and a feeling of "I did something good today."
Blast Furnace, Saturday, March 31, 2001, somewhere on Pearl St.
"Leave no trace! No spectators!!! Yes, this means wear a costume!" It was an invitation to Blast Furnace, a huge, two-story freak-out party, supporting the Society for Experimental Arts and Learning. Your writer is not the dress-up type, but Blast Furnace kinda converted me. Remember Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" video? I've adopted the outfit as my superhero costume.
Floor one: down-tempo and experimental DJ sets in a lounge designed by Judy Sky and Gavin. Floor two: Live sets by two grrl rock bands Moxiestarpark and Torch Job then some beat-worship provided by DJs MiketheMack and Peter Anthony. As for the partygoers, well, let's see, there were a bunch of indecipherably weird get-ups, wigs, Satan, drag quasi-queens, and, oh yes, a naked dude with balloon animals on his cock. I was plenty comfortable in the surrounding company.
Torch Job played a rollicking set and at one point, they invited all the "animals" on stage. Think of Las Vegas showgirls that didn't make the cut, kindergartners on chocolate and cola, and carnival folk. Torch Job promptly kicked the animals off the stage when their song was over. The band covered "Ring of Fire," and Moxiestarpark got the stage shortly after. Before getting through their first few songs, Moxiestarpark encountered faulty wiring, a missing drummer, and the Welsh national anthem. Hey, who knew Wales had such a lovely national anthem? Anyway, the crowd's fever wasn't affected by the stop-go action because the vibe was just too intoxicating. Or maybe it was because everyone was hammered.
On my way out the door, Satan stopped me, thanked me for coming and complimented the Janet Jackson costume. Hey, who knew Satan was such a lovely, soft-spoken guy? See, benefit shows bring out the nice in everyone.
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