For me, as musician and a woman, I get pretty excited when I see four women take the stage. Maybe because I am a product of riot grrrl, Lilith Fair and the “all-girl band” movements of the early 1990’s (those were exciting times), maybe it’s because I still feel we have something to prove, maybe it’s because it just so darned great. But my inner-feminist dialogue won’t let me enjoy the show…actually that’s not true, I enjoy every note, but damn, do I have to deconstruct my feelings about it every time? Apparently yes. The short version of the dialogue goes like this:
A: Omg! Is she tapping?!? She is toooottallyy tapping, sounds so great! Ha, suck it internet guy who said there were no truly great “chick” guitar players!
B: Wait a second. Am I part of the problem in noting both her gender in relation to her ability at once. Crap. Okay, they are just really awesome players whose gender is unimportant. *nods head in time with music.
Then my friend leans over and says “I’ve never seen girls play like this before!” And I arrive back at dialogue A.
So, having said all that: Ledges, Blast is a four piece guitar driven rock band from Montreal and they got my attention fast despite some initial sound issues that was totally not their fault, but the fault of a high heeled drag queen who in her exuberant cursing of Steven Harper, “fucked up their shit” and delayed the start of their way too short set. These ladies have some serious moody power, literally at their fingertips and they know how to use it. They personify controlled chaos on stage. The guitar players, Pamela Dwyer (lead) and Cherie Pyne (rhythm), have a well-crafted, crunchy, growly, but warm guitar sound and where appropriate, soaring reverb-soaked solos. Sheena Hoszko’s, bass lines were relentlessly rolling and dynamic and from what I could hear, she keeps just a touch of distortion on her Rickenbacker. Drummer Anne Gauthier’s beats were precise, deep and with nothing extraneous or flabby added. I have major soft spot for drummers who use the floor tom and Anne is not shy about using it frequently, but judiciously.
This music is heavy, but not thrashy, it’s dark but not cold, it’s deep but still a ton of fun. The energy of the show was most certainly not how my same friend who I noted above, described some music as “looking like someone reading their dairy up there” (and suck it, guitar player guy who told me that that I was real good “for a chick because I didn’t look bored up there”). Performance-wise, Ledges, Blast delivers a rock show that was hard to look away from. As performers, the band is magnetic and sexy, but not simply because they are women with instruments, but the music itself has a sex appeal that they as performers, convey.
My only real criticism of the show is that Cherie’s vocal was a little lost under the mix, which could very well be an aesthetic choice (a la shoegaze) and not a sound issue (though also possibly a sound issue) but it’s not one I prefer. Pamela’s voice, on the other hand is more of rock vocal with a sweet rasp that reached the top of mix with seemingly little effort. Though, I don’t know how much it matters in the end, because these are not lyric based songs, oh they’re in there, but I don’t think you’d go to a Ledges, Blast show to hear thoughtful musings. No, you go to hear some heavy-ass riffs like the repeating phrase in my favorite song of the night, and of their EP, Wanderlust. Well, at least I will.
Ledges, Blast six song EP is called I Know You’re Out There in the Long Light. It is available on tape (be still my 1990’s heart) with a digital download.