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The Fiery Bird & Loud Women

30 Aug

Thursday 25 August 2016 I was joined on the Fiery Bird Show (listen again here) by Cassie Fox founder of Loud Women,promoters of women led music in London ahead of the Loud Women festival taking place at TChances on Sat 3rd September.

I had come across Loud Women at the start of the year as, always interested in what is going on and let’s face it like many, having a look at where my band can get gigs, I saw some postings on Facebook. A refreshing out-there relief articulating the frustrations of many.

Where many women had been working away at balancing the gender bias in music for some time and though connected up were chipping away alone at the brick wall of misogyny, this was new, arriving at a time when many promoters, festival organisers and venues were realising that they needed to face the fact that the issue about under representation of women wasn’t going away and it made commercial sense to jump on the bandwagon and put on a token band albeit usually further down the line up. These new younger female promoters and bands were also taking up the torch and starting to walk the path made by women doing it before in an albeit more underground way tackling, unsupported the established attitudes and setting the scene for a new breed to take the next step. With this torch lit by those before they chose, rather than just use it to cast light on inequality to make it burn a new, more visible, path. In light of society’s returning to values and challenges that we thought we wouldn’t see again when cuts and frustrations spiral down, there’s usually somewhere the buck stops, the person holding the baby and trying to fill out the tax credits form, prove they need legal aid and an equal salary, is a woman. 

That a platform needs to be there to give voice to the unique challenges people face in these uncertain times is how music changes societies and so is not only to celebrate the creative output of 50% of the population and a platform for younger musicians to hone their craft, be a bit shit and make the mistakes that are an accepted part and parcel of a musical journey, but to keep equality on the agenda. It is not a radical notion that the idea of the wet behind the ears, swaggering musician whose ego outstrips talent but with guidance can be shown how to really express themselves is generally seen as a male silhouette in all the best cliches. We too, as females house those little gits and more power to them for they will be the ones we can clip round the ear and send out as fully fledged women musicians ready to play their stuff just as all the old svengalis did to all the new young male bloods they believed in but who were on the road to crash and burn if not nurtured and if not, let’s face it, told they had a lot of work to do but never that the work wasn’t theirs to access, theirs to own and shape and make a new culture from. What they call the svengalis and mentors we can be and are, if that makes us witches to be burnt then there is nothing like rising again, and again.
We have seen this in our beginner open mic sessions at the Phoenix Centre and I know the work musicians in DIY projects such as Hannah White from the SoundLounge,  Catherine Williams from Blue Trouser Records and Emma Hughes have done with increasing the confidence and giving platforms to young women. Additionally in our WIMOD (Women in Music Organisation & Direction) meetings which cover every age there is a context at which people know they are supported, can ask questions and make an arse of themselves and THE WORLD WON’T END.
So now it is great to see promoters like Loud Women run by Cassie & Who Run The World run by Beth White casting a swathe across London and welcome Cassie Fox as a guest to the Fiery Bird Show where she explained the origins of LoudWomen, her own bands and projects and the bands playing the Loud Women Festival on 3 Sept 2016 tickets can be obtained from loudwomen.org

Here is the playlist

Female of the Species – Space – a phrase often used to warn of the femme fatale and yet it comes from the female that is deadly when her young are threatened as guardians of the future, I’d say that was pretty fair 

Mansplaining – The Wimmin’s Institute Cassie’s band with an anthem dedicated to the proponents of mansplaining – telling a woman how to do something they already know

Respect Aretha Franklin – top vocalist and top song nothing more to add

DIY – Dream Nails – a band playing Loud Women festival, they had their first ever gig with Loud Women at the beginning and less than a year later headlined the sisterhood stage at Glastonbury

Silence – Claudia Stark a local songwriter, Claudia is able to take an issue, global or personal and expose her intentions in crystal clear lyrics. The beautiful vocal and what initially appears to be introspective lyric will often take you by surprise with the steel inside the velvet

Sexuality – Billy Bragg a song I always wanted to cover when playing the school PTA BBQ’s 

In These Shoes? – Kirsty MacColl a lyrical genius, MacColl was a treasure of a musician that was taken too soon, her articulation, vocal ability and compassionate wit enriched whatever project she worked on 

The Boat That I Row – Lulu the song was used in the film soundtrack for Made In Dagenham which illustrated the work that women machinists did for equal pay and often in conflict with the male members of their own Union.

Oh Bondage UP YOURS – X Ray Spex I promised the station manager to play it after 9pm – and I did and you can’t have a show about women in music and not include Polystyrene well you might but I didn’t want to so if you don’t like it – UP YOURS!! 🙂 personally I find inequality for anyone more offensive than mild swearing but each to their own

Control – Desperate Journalists an indie band playing Loud Women festival reminiscent of Siousxie in sound with a daffodil slapping by Morrissey in the mix- liked this very much and hope to hear more from them 

Only Time Will Tell – Making Time – led by Fay Hallam still gigging now and playing at 100 club on 14 October supported by the Len Price 3, a respected musician who has kept an innovative career going illustrating that making music as creative rather than celebrity chasing endeavour has its rewards in a critically acclaimed body of work and loyal following

Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks – After the war Waterloo Bridge was rebuilt by women who were written out of history but whose story was kept alive by the lighter men on the Thames. The bridge of steel we may walk over as we leave Waterloo on our adventures in the big city was rebuilt by women – this song was played for JuliaK, Catherine Williams and all the women who were on board to play the Ladies Bridge gig and all the women who have been working in the background for many years giving other women a helping hand

Cover Up – The Ethical Debating Society playing the Loud Women Fest. Energetic post punk.

Carry Go Bring Come – The Selector – they speak of Jezebels causing misery from home to home, many of us feel this way but then you meet a real one and realise the difference between Jezebel and the Angel. 

The Green & Red of Mayo – The Saw Drs – normally I’m in Mayo, Eire at this time of the year, this song goes on in the hire car as we leave Knock airport and I look in the rear view mirror to see the kids pretending to shoot themselves in the head as soon as they realise that the saw Drs have hit the decks again. This song for all my cousins uncles aunts and everyone I didn’t get to see this year because of empty pockets and big bills. It also mentions Grainneuaile pirate queen of the west who made Queen Elizabeth 1 accept her as an equal queen. Her clan was from Clare Island where she had a stronghold and what is left of a look out on Achill Island. A fiery woman indeed.

LinkedIn by Foxcunt (don’t worry I didn’t say the name on Radio) playing the Loud Women Festival 3 Sept

Free World – Kirsty MacColl – this woman has sadly been dead a few years now but these words, also sadly could be now, if anyone knows anyone now who can write songs like this let me know

I thought of you when they closed down the school

And the hospital too

Did they think that you were better?

They were wrong

You had so many friends

They all left you in the end

‘Cause they couldn’t take the patter
And I’ll see you baby when the clans rise again

Women and men united by a struggle

Going down

You’ve got to walk into the water

With your sister and your daughter

In this free world
If I wore your shades could I share your point of view?

Could I make you feel better?

Paint a picture, write a letter?

Well I know what you’re saying

But I see the things you do

And it’s much too dangerous

To get closer to you

But I will see you baby when the clans rise again

Women and men united by the struggle

Going down

With a pocketful of plastic

Like a dollar on elastic

In this free world
I wouldn’t tell you if I didn’t care

I’ll see you baby when the clans rise again

Women and men united by the struggle

And the ghettoes are full of Mercedes Benz

And you’d never hurt a friend

Who wouldn’t tell you
It’s cold and it’s going to get colder

You may not get much older

You’re much too scared of living

And to die is a reliable exit

So you push it and you test it

With Thunderbird and Rivin*
I’ll see you baby when the clans rise again

Women and men united by the struggle

In this free world baby

Got to take it got to grab it

Got to get it up and shag it

In this free world

Going down
You’ve got to get into the water

Like a lamb goes to the slaughter

In this free world baby

Going down

With a pocketful of plastic

Like a dollar on elastic

In this free world

I wouldn’t tell you if I didn’t care