On Friday, January 16th, the Vera Project hosted Girls That Shred II, a benefit for the grassroots organization Skate Like A Girl. Skate Like A Girl has chapters from San Francisco to Seattle providing the local community with skating lessons and equipment. It started out as girls teaching girls and has now grown to families teaching families. There was a strong sense of family and community, which felt kind of awkward when bands like Thunderpussy would go up, but like the professionals, that sense of awkwardness was quickly dismantled and the show became a communal mission for female empowerment.
Walking up to the venue’s entrance, my friend and I almost crashed with a girl on her way to ride a homemade ramp they set up. We go inside and notice that denim jackets were the look for this evening. Two other girls notice my jacket and get excited about how all three of us and practically everyone, including the lead singer from Tangerine, are all wearing denim and how we should all take a massive denim picture.
After a quick intro by the event coordinators and representatives from Skate Like A Girl, Peeping Tomboys got up and opened the show. Before the first song they confess the roundness of their journey together having had their first show as a band in the Vera Project and then their last show as a band in the same venue. The band’s breaking up was news to me and for a while I was distraught. Then the band began playing “Long Time Coming,” my favorite track from the latest (and, I guess, last) LP release Lo.
The band members didn’t really care for small talk, they let their performance do the talking for them. In each member’s playing you could feel a sense of gloom. Their live performance of “Goldies” started feeling so great, however it was that song’s heavy, grunge atmosphere ending so polar from its joyful beginning that you began to feel that wretchedness of seeing such a great and promising musical project come to an end.
After a nice raffle event by Skate Like A Girl to cheer everyone up, Thunderpussy began to set up. As intimidating as she looks in all the band’s pictures on their website, Thunderpussy’s lead singer, Molly Sides, came up on stage holding the band’s latest addition: a toddler ukulele player named Hype. Hype stayed dancing on the side of the stage during the rest of the show while the punk-rockers performed songs like “Fever” and “Trouble” both songs that work great as “dance in a rock & roll bar” jams either as goofy or as sexy as you want. Thunderpussy is the perfect music act for promoting female sexual positivity while having a kick-ass time doing it. After a while, the lead singers asks the crowd if their feeling “hot like your stuck in a velvet onesie.” Predictably enough, the crowd inherited the confident and elegant energy that Molly Sides never stops releasing. I look to my left and notice a mosh pit forming up and I catch in the center of it all the girl that almost crashed with us on her skateboard earlier in the night.
Like the Peeping Tomboys, Tangerine also had their first show at The Vera Project (does our gratitude for those folks ever end?). This was my third time seeing Tangerine on perform—one time being in KXSU’s studio. Now performing for KEXP, Tangerine have really grown as a band since their humble beginnings. They begin the show flawlessly with their new album’s single “You’ll Always Be Lonely”. The chemistry between all of them is so tangible it’s adorable—seeing them make goofy faces at each other when they notice the bass guitar amp stops working just as the line was about to make its entrance into the song. Mariko and Toby make an excellent guitar duo. The whole team’s dead-on coordination make the familiarity in Tangerine’s music bring you back to awesome days at the beach with friends. The perfect soundtrack ending with the members “oooh-ing” together during “I Fell Down.”
By now it’s past 10:30pm and all the kids are on their way home. Rap artist Katie Kate begins setting up by free styling about the Vera Project during mic check and then a nice, sexy guitar cover of “Shake That Shit Off” by Taylor Swift. Regardless of the repeating, technical errors, Katie Kate never got phased. Her rapping mixed with post-punk guitar playing feels so perfectly balanced and Katie Kate knows it. She puts her fender on rest to being rapping “Uh…No”. The rest of the show goes smoothly until at one point, the first track started playing during the end of the current track she was performing. She did some free styling while her partner fixed stuff up then continued to perform songs from her new album Nation. Dropping the mic at the end of “Razorblade Fences”, Katie Kate walks off the stage leaving us all stunned and in love as well as with an awkward transition to the last raffle giveaway of the event.
Gabriel Ferri / Fairy Punk / KXSU DJ and Writer