Bratakus’ Gigantopithecus EP is out now via Screaming Babies Records. The Julie Ruin’s new album Hit Reset is out now via Hardly Art.
“How many people here are in bands?” asks Kathleen Hanna. We’re at Glasgow’s Art School watching The Julie Ruin. A lot of hands are raised. Two of those hands belong to Breagha and Oonagh Cuinn, the sisters who are Bratakus, one of Overblown’s favourite punk bands. Kathleen Hanna has been a huge inspiration to a countless number of bands, Bratakus included. Given their age this is the first time Breagha and Oonagh have had the chance to see Kathleen and her band play live. Excitement was at fever pitch and we asked them to share their experience with us for your reading pleasure. Here they are recounting their day. Enjoy.
We had both been looking forward to this gig for a very long time. We booked the tickets the day they went on sale and have been in a constant state of excitement ever since. We were going to be going with a whole group of friends, but slowly as time went by almost everyone who was going with us couldn’t come for various reasons, including two of our friends who got in touch with us the night before to tell us that their entire house, an ongoing off-grid self build, where they’d been living for the past 9 years, had just burnt to the ground in a devastating fire, and they had lost absolutely everything they owned. Incidentally, they now have a Just Giving page to help them raise some money to help rebuild/start again, so please donate if you can.
Needless to say they couldn’t make it to the gig and it ended up just being the two of us and one friend standing outside the stage door in the rain at 3:30pm trying to meet the band! We had bought a card in the hope that we could get the band to sign it for our friends because of what happened to them, and after a few failed encounters with Kenny Mellman where we were too shy to talk to him, we managed to pluck up the courage to ask him to sign the card. He took it and got the whole band to sign it and was super nice to us. We wanted to get a picture with Kathleen Hanna, but she told us she wasn’t feeling well, which made us all the more impressed at the great show she managed to pull off despite this.
The gig was already quite full when we got into the venue, but we still managed to get a great spot in the second row just before Rattle, the Nottingham based support act for the UK leg of their tour took to the stage. Two girls sat down at drum kits that were set up facing each other and started playing some of the most intricate and interesting drum based songs we have ever heard, with the occasional almost ethereal vocal melodies woven in. They managed to hold the attention of the audience for their whole set which was testament to their talent and unique sound. It’s rare enough that you find a band with a female drummer, let alone two!
After Rattle everyone in the room waited in anticipation for The Julie Ruin to take the stage. It was off to a great start when they opened with ‘I Decide’ and Kathleen kicked off her heels to dance. Most of the audience were already singing and dancing along as well. We were both so happy to be there and it was really cool to look around and see everyone already having such a great time even in the first couple of minutes of the gig.
They mainly played songs from their new album Hit Reset, which was fine by us since we’d been playing it non-stop in the months leading up to the gig. A highlight was Kenny telling the us the plot of the 70’s movie Day of the Dolphin which involved humans strapping bombs to dolphins, a story that was spurred on by his outfit, a rainbow coloured dolphin t-shirt and matching shorts and resulted in Kathleen introducing the song Hit Reset (about her dad) by saying “I wish my Dad was a dolphin with a bomb strapped to it”.
It was an all round very funny show, since Kathleen and Kenny are almost like a comedy double act. It was also cool how the band interacted with the audience so much, which gave the show a very relaxed atmosphere and opened the doors for lots of funny dialogue with the crowd throughout the gig.
Although Kathi, Carmine and Sara weren’t as outgoing as Kenny and Kathleen, it was still amazing to see them play live since they are so cool, and such talented musicians. They came across as really humble and like they were just really into it and loved what they were doing. It was also nice to see Kathleen and Kathi’s friendship show through on stage after they were in Bikini Kill together and have been friends for so many years. Often looking over at each other and smiling throughout their set.
We were also treated to a couple of songs from Kathleen’s 1998 solo album Julie Ruin, which was written, recorded and mixed by Kathleen in her bedroom. Kenny said that he actually owned 3 of the only 10 copies in the world – Kathleen only owns one, and she said there were a couple of ridiculously priced copies on Ebay, but she said she would prefer you just listened to it for free on YouTube!
One of our favourite’s on the new album was the song ‘Mr. So and So’, which is a really funny song about “a certain kind of male fan who shows up at your performances and wants to talk sexism” in Kathleen’s words. It was so cool to see it live. She read the rant at the start out from a little fanzine which she threw out into the crowd after the gig.
It was a nice change to be able to just dance about and have fun at the front instead of being shoved about the whole time like at most gigs. Just before their last song they invited up two girls from the organisation Girls Against to speak out against sexual assault at gigs. You can find out more about them on their Twitter and Facebook pages.
The band went on to finish with ‘Oh Come On’ and left the audience cheering for more, which they gave us with a brilliant encore of ‘Let Me Go’. Kathleen said that was going to be the last song before they played it and although we love that song, we were slightly disappointed because we had heard that they had been doing a cover of Bikini Kill’s ‘Rebel Girl’ on this tour, so it made our night when after ‘Let Me Go’ Kathleen was talking and we saw Carmine poised with his drum sticks over the snare ready to break into the ‘Rebel Girl’ intro. The whole audience went crazy, we’re pretty sure most of the people there never thought they’d get the chance to hear that song played live by half of Bikini Kill! We can’t even describe the joy that spread through the room. We did get pushed about a bit for that song, but in contrast to other gigs, the girl that Breagha was pushed into put her arm out for her to hold on to and steady herself instead of getting annoyed!
After they finished the song and said goodbye a final time everyone was left feeling almost overwhelmed with happiness. The staff had to start ushering people out of the venue ’cause no one could stop talking about how great the gig was long enough to actually leave! We think everyone who was there was just so happy to have seen this gig.
Now we’re just hoping for a Le Tigre 2017 UK tour!!
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