Support From EW, And NØ VØMB.
It was a loudly femme-forward night last Tuesday at Loosey’s Pub in Gainesville, FL as Olympia WA’s hardcore darlings, G.L.O.S.S (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) powered through a high energy and set for a packed audience of equally energetic and mesmerized listeners. Alongside G.L.O.S.S, the evening included performances by local Gainesville duo EW and performer NØ VØMB (both acts I had yet to experience in town) and supporting tour group, Ft. Lauderdale hardcore players, Gouge Away.
First it should be noted that while Gainesville houses a fairly inclusive and radically open performance scene, the town’s music activism has not quite made the leap beyond masc-heavy punk bands, so the excitement was wildly noticeable as people began to pack in a good 45 minutes (also it should be noted that all Gainesville shows start and end notoriously late) before the first performer even began to set up. Additionally, the show was 18+ and I as I began to look around the room and listen as people were chatting in eager anticipation, it was apparent that not only does G.L.O.S.S have a somewhat younger and very radical fan base, they also have followers who were dedicated enough to drive in for the evening from places as far away as Atlanta. This piqued my interest especially because G.L.O.S.S is a fairly young band with their first demo only just released this past February.
The first performer was a guitar-and-computer combination by the name of NØ VØMB. It was a thin and foreboding performance with a scatter-goth vocal style that flirted often with the world of chanting. Presentation-wise, it seemed that NØ VØMB was trying to occupy that specific place between performance art and experimental music, it all came off as very earnest and politically firm (NØ VØMB is an advocate for the Books for Prisoners movement here in GVN), although a bit nervous. Later I was told this was their first performance, so it would be unfair to comment further on the occasional awkward slip-ups in artistry.
Next up was bass-and-drum duo EW. They came at the audience with fast drums and loose vocal shrieks, utter sass all around. Lyrically their sound was simple, often using a bit of call and response between the two. Again, their emphasis seemed to waver more towards the experimental and performance art side of presentation with a few moments of engaging hip shakes and livid eye rolls. Also, though this obviously doesn’t have much to do with the quality of sound- EW absolutely won the evening for best make up, it was garish, it was weird, it was wonderful.
Despite my excitement to witness the powerhouse that is a G.L.O.S.S performance, I have to say that it was ultimately Gouge Away who stole my heart at this show. While it is usually my policy not to dwell overmuch on the gender of performers unless it is very much part of their message (it can get pretty boring, we’ve all moved past bands “being good for having a girl in it” moments), I have to say it was awesome to hear obviously femme vocals paired with that style of hardcore music. Gouge Away took a pretty broad (and very skilled) approach to their sound with embraced everything from speedy punk thrash to stoner sludge. Everyone was dancing in the front, the next time I see them I hope I won’t be carrying a notebook because I am going to head straight for the front and stay there until my earbuds start whining. That is all.
G.L.O.S.S took to the stage with the ultimate confidence of people who have something to say. And they said a lot, with the instrumental prowess to back up everything. Their lyrics took a few notable bites out of western gender norms, to be sure, with a hyper howl and heavy reverb. Despite the hurriedly assertive fist-heavy force of their sound, each transition between songs was smooth and careful. I am excited to see and hear what this radical group gets up to next and am hopeful for a full length release in the near future.
Follow G.L.O.S.S. on Bandcamp.
Follow Gouge Away on Facebook.