From sharing rooms together at Rutgers to sharing the stages together around the globe, it’s undeniable that Vivian Girls are a group of best friends having fun; and Ali’s mom is still cheering them on, front and center. After beginning my Sunday evening with a delicious $1 egg roll, I strolled down Broadway in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn into the doors of Baby’s All Right. It was the final show for Vivian Girls – ever. There could never be enough glitter-filled balloons to console the room filled with adoring fans on their beloved local musician’s disbandment.
I know you read our sweet goodbye to them already, and we might be talkin’ your ear off about our love for the 3-piece band, but Vivian Girls have kept girl-rock alive, and we’re not going to shut up about it. Sunday night was just a peek at the many things VG have done for the female music scene.
The night was an almost exclusive female line-up, starting with a feminine D.I.Y. ensemble, Potty Mouth. The stage was lit up by their young, smiling faces, and it looked like a scene right out of a Rookie Mag piece, school girl skirt and all. The lead singer and guitarist, Abby, had decorated her guitar collage-style and busted out a trembling alto narrative. Most of the time, she was slightly flat, but it added to their “whatever” demure. I found her off-pitch vocals to be slightly charming but was relieved when a few songs in, the other guitarist took the mic. Phoebe had personality in her tone and a cute, loud shrill similar to that of a 60s Motown songstress. It was no surprise that these feisty females were chosen to open the show, giving off a “passing-down-the-torch” vibe for the next collective of rock ‘n roll ladies.
Shellshag, a duo and their signature “shell” decorated stereo, took the stage next. Bellowing, round sound echoed from their speakers. They jumped around on stage, bells wrapped around Shag’s ankles. Shellshag is another homage to D.I.Y. music, except a little older, and, dare I say, more sophisticated than the band before them. I made this observation while admiring the guitarist, Shag’s, colorful and high cut socks. The set ended with Shell piling her instruments on one another and Shag holstering his guitar in the ceiling pipes. It was all very Brooklyn.
It was then, that an adorable, short, older, blonde bob pushed her way through the crowd. Ali Koehler’s mom was drunk and ready to watch her baby girl perform, and that meant it was time. Katy Goodman and Ali agreed that emotions are for suckers, and the music started to blare. I can’t lie to you, I fangirled pretty hard. (Read: The hardest.) I swooned at each polite “more of my vocals in my monitor, please,” and every perfect Katy hair-swoop. Ali’s mom won the show and our hearts, while reminding Cassie to “get on the floor. We all love when Cassie gets on the floor!” and rubbing the heads of the fans around her. Each one of these girls brings a different element to the stage. Katy, Cassie and Ali all have very different personalities which are showcased perfectly on stage. Their shows highlight not only music, but also the style and attitude that every local music scene needs. I think of it like the Spice Girls but with more pushing and crowd-surfing. Even the tight jeans and skater skirts are the same.
Though VG is calling it quits, the amount of females in the music industry is growing exponentially. Each of these girls have their own rising projects. Cassie with The Babies, Ali with Upset, and Katy with La Sera. Talking to Ali after the show, through her fireball shot induced tears, we discussed the growth of females in music. While she’s mourning the end of their era, Ali is also excited to shed light on new women in music, and still glowing from Kathleen Hanna’s mention of VG at the Q&A screening of The Punk Singer. It’s apparent that VG set out to do what they were meant to do.
The next big thing?
I’m rooting for some queer bands with people of color to take the stage next. (Half-Breed, I’m lookin’ at you!)
Here are some more pictures from the night, and a short clip I took with my amazing instagram skills:
*Photos by Carly S at Baby’s All Right, 03/02/14