By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
With the number of great female-fronted bands in the DFW area, you'd think door guys at local music clubs would get a clue. But when Taylor Reed, lead singer and guitarist of Denton's Cordelane, played a Deep Ellum concert only a few weeks ago, she was reminded that the struggle ain't over yet, sister.
"The door person that night finally let me in," Reed says, "but he made extra sure that I was in the band, not with the band."
Getting mistaken as a band groupie by a club employee may not be the end of the world, but it's a slap in the face to a scene whose XX chromosomes are to blame for some of the best music in town. Hopefully, that bouncer won't be anywhere near the door at Hailey's on Saturday, because if he shows up, he'll leave at least 10 talented musicians stranded at the front door with guitars, PAs and stage equipment in their hands.
La Femme Qui Rock, French for "The Women Who Rock," overtakes the Denton nightclub to prove that female-focused music festivals can work without heavy-handed politics or gimmicks...aside from naming the show in French, anyway.
"I wanted something focused on females, but I didn't want it to appear that it was some sort of women's rights scene or sexist approach," says Lance Yocom, who's throwing the show as part of his Spune Productions umbrella. It was Hailey's booking agent and soundman Glen Squibb who suggested the French twist, and the nice-sounding phrase fit because it was so simple. Women. Rock. Perfect.
The show's roots were laid months ago when Becca Stone, lead singer of Landrest, organized a small female-fronted concert with fellow Denton bands Record Hop, Shiny Around the Edges and Black Lodge. Unfortunately, BL member Sarah Alexander moved away and the show was disbanded, but Yocom, the ever-prodigious local scene promoter behind April's Wall of Sound Festival, saw an opportunity.
"I wanted to highlight a lot of talented bands that happen to be female-fronted," Yocom says. "There seem to be a lot in the past couple of years--even more recently."
His is truly an understatement proven by the La Femme lineup--the remaining three bands from the original concert are bolstered by five others, and the lineup ranges from whip-smart feedback lovers Record Hop, Jack With One Eye and Austin's Faceless Werewolves to the pensive, challenging folk of Bosque Brown and Audrey Lapraik to the arty pop-rock of Landrest and Cordelane. The styles may be diverse, but the collective vision--and quality--behind these acts will surely make this the best concert of the weekend.
"A lot of shows are just slammed together, with bands who are mismatched or whatever, and this evening is more of a thought-out combination of musicians," Stone says. "They all happen to be females, but to me, that's something that I feel is lacking, having a female perspective on things; not necessarily griping about being a woman but having a perspective on things that aren't heard all that often."
Of course, if Yocom has anything to say about it, that perspective will have a wider audience once every few months, as La Femme is going seasonal. The next iteration of the festival is already being planned for November, and the theme's rules will be loosened so that bands whose female members aren't at the front will get a shot, as will more bands from Austin, Oklahoma and even farther away. In fact, Yocom only has one rule at this point: "You probably won't see any mainstream female band playing La Femme," he says, stressing Spune's push to promote and develop strong, independent bands.
But even that's not the end of the Spune news this week, as Yocom has announced a local music news whopper: His production company will begin exclusively booking Lower Greenville's The Cavern starting the first weekend of September. Nightly DJs in the venue's upstairs bar will include Good Records owner Chris Penn and 102.1 The Edge's Josh Venable, and the downstairs area will be expanded to improve sound and increase stage size.
Future versions of La Femme, among other Spune fests, may move to The Cavern, and say goodbye to butt-rock bands that used to fill the club's schedule, as Yocom promises to deliver the best in local tunes every weekend. I'm hoping the 21-and-up policy is changed so younger music fans can enjoy the show, but even if not, this news is reason for celebration. Just make sure there's a female-friendly bouncer at the door, Lance.