In the immortal words of the great philosopher Willow Rosenberg from Buffy, “a vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend.” So let’s make it clear. No, it shouldn’t take a ‘day’ for promoters to put on a mostly female or ::gasp:: all-female line-up. No, it’s not great that International Women’s Day (IWD) events are becoming increasingly commodified and used as a convenient screen for lack of representation the rest of the year. No, these ‘special events’ don’t represent the sum total, or even scratch the surface, of excellent musicianship by women all year round that too often goes unsung (pun intended). Still, should we ignore the interesting IWD events, often curated by women and cut with an ironic twist or explicitly highlighting areas of discrimination, under-representation or violence? No.‘Day’ is a bit of a misnomer in this context because we’re now seeing IWD events spread across multiple nights. Perhaps that’s due to the popularity of IWD as a marketing tool. Perhaps it’s the sometimes prohibitive cost of booking venues for a Friday. That’s a discussion for another time. At least for us it means we can pack in a few events and avoid quite so many painful clashes!
First up for your delectation we have I‘m Every Woman: A Musical Celebration for International Women’s Day, presented by Green Note. Despite the loveliness of that award-winning venue, it’s simply not big enough for an event of this scale, so Immy and co are heading over to JW3 on Finchley Road on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Building on the success of last year’s Like A Woman IWD event, Michele Stodart of Magic Numbers will be returning as musical director. This year’s theme is the ages and stages of being a woman. Stodart will be joined by an array of performers including Kate St John, Margo Buchanan and The Rosellas (not to be confused with the Roselleys, Americana folks!)
Speaking of last year, here’s a few videos showing the kind of quality you can expect from an event curated by Stodart. In 2018, Stodart was joined by Emily Barker, Kathryn Williams and many more to perform classic songs about women. They pointed out that these familiar songs often turn out to be rather problematic when listening closely to the words closely without the comforting shroud of nostalgia Check out the lyrics for Dylan’s Just Like A Woman or Springsteen’s I’m On Fire, for example. (Definitely don’t look up Neil Sedaka’s Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen unless you want to throw up a little in your mouth.)
Thursday, March 7, 2019: I’m Every Woman at JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, London, NW3 6ET. £25. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., music starts at 8:00 p.m. Click here for tickets, artist bios and more information.
Across town on the same night we have the HEARD Collective at The Slaughtered Lamb. There you can see 13 female musicians plus 2 female illustrators appearing live in support of The Fawcett Society.
Anyone who saw Daisy Chute, Cerian and co at St. James’ Church late last year knows you’re in for a treat. If you weren’t there, don’t worry; that’s one of the three gigs I covered that night and here’s a video of the Heard Collective’s stunning Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution cover. It’s certain to be reprised for the IWD gig as it’s being released as a single that day!
If you’re going to The Slaughtered Lamb, get there early; that cozy room will be pretty full with 15 performers and that’s before the crowd arrives!
Doors at 7:30 p.m. Click here for tickets and more details.
The Round Up is not explicitly an IWD event because it happens every month, but kudos for a pretty consistent gender balance year round including 50% of the main act, Two Ways Home, of course!! This month’s edition features rising U.S. modern country star Lainey Wilson, Irish country pop singer Riah Butler, and Indigo Face, who list their interests as “chasing spiders, counting flowers, drawing faces” and awards won as Nesquik Cup. Should make for an interesting night!
Over at Indigo in The O2 (when did they stop calling it IndigO2?), there’s the CMA Songwriters Series featuring several men from the U.S., including rising star Jimmie Allen and Travis Denning However, unlike U.S. country radio playlists, there are also several women to balance it out too! Note to the programmers, its really not that hard! In fact, even CMA could have tipped the balance, IWD or not, given the plethora of female talent coming up over the C2C weekend at The O2!
Alongside Laura Veltz will be Cam to host the entire show. Of course, Cam’s catchy af smash hit Diane raises many questions: should someone other than Dolly writes a response song to Jolene? Why is Jolene painted as the scarlet woman when it’s clearly the man that’s the wrong ‘un? Can a woman called Jolene go an entire day without having that song sung to her? Will we ever get this damn answer song out of our heads?! Answers in the comments please!
So, if you’re planning a night in for Thursday, think again! That’s just a taste of what’s going on in London, let alone the range of music and arts events up and down the country. It’s almost the weekend, stay out late and let your (flaming locks of auburn) hair down!
As for International Women’s Day itself, no need for a long list. Hannah Rose Platt is playing at The Betsey Trotwood in Clerkenwell. Along with some other women who are undoubtedly great but, to be perfectly honest, I stopped listening after hearing about Hannah Rose Platt because it’s *obviously* going to be good.
Check out Platt’s stunning, searing song Sorry, released on IWD 2018 to raise funds for Women’s Aid. You can download the song by clicking here.
Rock up to The Betsey Trotwood at 56 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3BL by 8:00 p.m. for a night of good drinks, good company and good music.