LOUD WOMEN Xmas Grotto: The Nyx, Baby Seals, I.V. + GUTTFUL - 02/12/16
Stepping into the basement of Vegbar in Brixton you are immediately greeted with the sound of swelling guitars and golden streamers entangling with your appendages. This set the scene for the rest of the evening with loud punky feminist glitterbomb vibes.
Opening the night were Guttfull with an incredibly strong debut gig. The guitar sound was full and swelled into energetic numbers reminiscent of Bikini Kill if they had a baby with the Undertones, and adopted a saxophone player. Apparent in their lyrics is a strong awareness of feminist interactions online with songs such as “Not All Men” and “Keyboard Warrior”, with Moe’s delivery of these showing incredible promise for what is a very young band. The highlight of their set was their closing number called Mafu, a Samoan word meaning grotty or unpleasant.
Next up came a change of pace, delivered by poet Nadia Drews. Drawing on her own background she spoke of moving from San Francisco to Lancashire and falling in love with the Punk subculture in her new home the same way she had the underground scene in SF. Her poems came heavily tinged with a sense of nostalgia, love, and anger, making for a meaningful and enjoyable set. A stand-out for me was her poem “Signed Saz” recounting a gift of an autograph book which had been made all the more valuable by the contribution from someone close to her. Another highlight was “The Things She Did Not Say”.
Following Nadia came I.V, a band formed of beautifully dressed young people bringing a whole new sense of fun and flirtiness to the evening. Vicky, the frontperson, took to the stage wearing a hat with devil horns and a fur coat, which was soon shed to reveal a red sequinned bodysuit adorned with a crotch full of fairy lights, like a slightly more festive Electric Six. Their sound was tight and reminded me of the music of Mars Argo or Honeyblood, with Vicky’s vocals really adding a great dimension to their set. The band have great chemistry and played up this aspect to great effect, with the set descending into a raucous celebration of noise.
A change of pace followed with The Baby Seals, a band from Cambridge who brought a beachy sound and catchy lyrics to the table, reminding me of the Southsea band Personal Best. Their incredibly tight harmonies added a 60s feel to the set, with their lyrics juxtaposing this in a fresh way. Occasionally touching on a Wolf Alice-esque sound, especially in their last song (It’s Not About The Money, Honey), The Baby Seals performed a very enjoyable set. Another highlight for me was the song “Yawn Porn” which played with the idea of the standard boring porn plot.
Closing the night, The Nyx burst onto stage with a late soundcheck and a classic rock sound, with incredibly energy levels. A band of brilliant performers, with clear band chemistry and effective use of different parts to create a coherent whole. At times reminded me of the music which was popular in the mid 2000s, such as Paramore and Muse, though with their own twist. Though not my personal favourite genre of music, it’s easy to appreciate the musicianship and talent present, and they brought the night to a climactic close.
Overall the energy levels were only matched by the levels of fun at the Loud Women Xmas Grotto, a great event championing women in music through putting on great gigs with great people. I felt at home here, and you can be sure I’ll do my best to be at the next one.
All words and photos by Honor Ash.