The IRWAG (Institute for Research of Woman and Gender) kicked off their 25th anniversary celebrations today at 4:00 on the steps in Avery Plaza. Despite impending threat of rain, five very different groups of women/with women performed for the crowd. Bwog sent the head of our Riots and Rock department, Allie Pines, to check it out.
Ostensibly beginning at 4:00, IRWAG wasn’t allowed to have any group using amplified sound play until after 5:00 due to university policy (War on Fun strikes again?). Thus, the first performance by Martha Redbone was mostly a cappella. Under the watchful eye of two public safety officers, her set wound down around 4:20 and was followed by about an hour of awkward silence until sound checks were allowed to commence.
The first actual band was Still Saffire, a collection of alums from the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. Their sound was exceptionally sweet and had an earnest sort of awkwardness that had the crowd smiling and shouting encouragement. Even sans bassist (the band is made up of two sets of sisters, one of whom is in college and couldn’t make it tonight), they still had a surprising level of sophistication.
The next performer, Ajo, had a completely different vibe, abandoning the twee and bright sounds of Still Saffire and verging into hip-hop and funk. Midway through the performance an angry professor emerged from Fayerweather to yell at the organizers about the noise and was met mostly with shrugs.
After Ajo came Olivia Harris (CC’14), who played two cover songs and one original piece that was an interesting blend of R&B, reggae, jazz, pop, and rock. She was extremely charming (even when forgetting the first verse of one of the songs she covered) and had a very smooth sound that permeated each of her adaptations of a genre.
The last group, which promised to “kick everyone’s asses with ROCK” was called Lady Bits and had the most riot grrrl-esque sound. Composed of two guitarists and a drummer, the three women were the loudest and roughest, causing the audience (which at one point was fairly sizable but had since petered out due to wind and a few drops of rain) to nod their heads in time with the drums.
Overall, while the concert wasn’t as explicitly riot grrrl themed as all of the signage indicated, the various groups spanned a number of genres and were all entertaining to listen to, despite the weird hour delay between performances and occasional disapproval by professors trying to actually have a productive class on a Thursday night.