KIWI SCENE REPORT // ERICA FREAS TOUR 2014
"What the fuck is going on!?!"
…based on my own personal experiences and impressions,
(any of you who know me know that describing bands is not my favorite thing so just go listen cuz I’m linking everything I can…)
WELLINGTON (FEB 8) - Well fuck, I arrived in Wellington and didn’t know anyone and went and played the WAITANGI WASTE FEST. Whew. That was fucking intimidating cuz FUCKING VALHALLA was dim and super punk everywhere… but fuck it, I came to play so play I did, to a sparse room of rad people including the lovely Kate Cloeter & Damo. mr sterile Assemblyplayed in fantastic clown drag and proceeded to be amazing people who bought me a Welcome-to-Aotearoa beer and who do rad social justice work with their day lives. Mad respect now til forever for badass punks over 40… I also hung out with the person who drums for the JOHOS and she was hilarious, I forgot her name… and I got a Penny Dreadfuls patch to fix the hole I got in my jeans when I fell off my bike in Sydney… I didn’t WATCH THEM but I listened online and it was good, they cover L7…
CHRISTCHURCH (FEB 14 & 27) - Played 2 shows in Chch. The first, thanks toWill Roud, was at darkroom, a killer venue with good, loud sound that has created a much needed place to kick it after the massive 2011 earthquakes that devastated much of the community spaces in Chch. TEKE, the shiningRachael Norcross, played her witty songs, solo, and did a WAXAHATCHEE cover. Violet French played pretty folk songs, sometimes in duet. The second show was two weeks later at Tommy Chang’s Bar in Lyttleton. Steven Bell opened with classic, un-mic’d emotive and strained pop punk songs on an acoustic guitar. I booked this show so (wtf of course) we had a 10p noise curfew and didn’t have mics for the PA when Winter was set to play. With my dear old friend Lou Reland (Souix), we scoured the other nearby pubs for a mic on loan and came up short. Despite this minor obstacle (and let it not reflect on TOMMY CHANG’S because that place RULES), WINTER smashed it with a fucking beautiful, beautiful set. Angela sang without a mic, just screaming into the air, audible above the wall of sound. It stood my hair on end, I feel lucky to have experienced such a powerful performance. Great band. And coate (pronounced “coat”) played… ok, I think this is called EMO: pretty, twiddly guitar. The family of punks that makes up COATE, WINTER, TEKE & STEVEN BELL are incredible.
DUNEDIN (FEB 20) - Miraculously, Angela (WINTER) loaned me a fucking car, so I drove to DUNEDIN by myself (!!!hello, left side of the road?!!) and proceeded to get my mind blown by a group of total strangers. Purple Rain Retro Bar & Cafe hosted a last minute show change and apparently just started doing shows so everyone coming in was like “hey, I thought this was an Op Shop (translation: Thrift Store)”. Downstairs was this bizarrely decorated, long, thin room lined in various couches and comfy chairs with a tiny stage and a vintage PA. So much retro. FUSCHIA GASH, the skillful & incredible Bell Campanita, played her powerful solo songs on an amplified acoustic guitar, then did double duty and played in Whiskey and the Wenchwho played a high energy folk punk set. I think there were 8 of them. Real talk: folk punk is not always my jam… but I liked them a fucking lot. They were very reminiscent of THE HAIL SEIZURES which reminded me of home and people that I love and that I miss. They did the genre with enthusiastic class, loose but just tight enough to pull the listener into their madness. Plus every single one of them, as individuals, was different and hilarious. This is a good gauge, how hard are you laughing with people who you just met?! I was laughing hard. Win.
WELLINGTON (MAR 2) - Ferand Peek let me sleep in a beautiful living room nest overlooking the view from Mt. Vic onto the Wellington Harbor and I played a very short living room set. Last time I saw this human we jumped out of an airplane in the year 2000 then didn’t stay in touch. Ferand! it was so fucking good to see you, good luck with your film/s
AUCKLAND (MAR 7-10) - Thanks to the staggeringly awesome Kelsie Joyce& Matt Billington of Future Theft, there were mad shows to play on the North Island and every one of them broke my brain… First FUTURE THEFT, THE PROPHET MOTIVE & I toured for the weekend. FUTURE THEFT is a rare gem of melodic pop punk (in that good, dirty, diy way) in New Zealand’s crust heavy scene, their songs are smart and catchy, two guitars smashing out fast down-picking and hooky leads, two voices, high and low, playing off each other. We played these 3 shows I’m about to describe, plus a backyard bbq jam and so much singing in the van. I was in paradise. Who the fuck are these people? They are hilarious, fun and smart and doing incredible things with their lives. Friday was a basement show at a punk house called BABERAHAM, we played with SLUGHUGGER (they haven’t recorded… yet), MYTH OF DEMOCRACY did a peer-pressured set to close the night, and Evandid his hair all good. Apparently M.O.D. did a tour in the USA a couple years ago and actually played in OLYMPIA at Last Word Books, the tragedy of worlds colliding at mismatched times… Saturday we crawled in the van, too early for how late we were up and drove to TAURANGA where we played an arvo (translation: afternoon) generator show under an overpass next to fast, bright blue water. It was too beautiful. ESKIMO PUSSY was this person dryly reading very explicit and sometimes very funny erotica over another person making guitary loopy noise. The gem of this performance was the random passers-by. Haha. Super Narco Man was this fast, tight, skate punk band (right?! listen for yourself) that felt fucking good to hear. On Sunday morning… early!!… I played on the radio -95bFM- with Mitch & James(Tittez) from THE PROPHET MOTIVE and “MATT BILLINGTON” in the studio, making me laugh and feeding me slang. I’ll tell you about THE PROPHET MOTIVE in a sec, they’re def worth paying attention to. Sunday night was at THE WINE CELLAR in AUCKLAND (where I got mail at the venue from Eroica, are you fucking kiddin me?! ♥) and we played with SHEPHERDS OF CASSINI who threw down with some unexpected vocal effects and an electric violin. Ok, then on Monday, Matty invited me to come play lunchtime at his work where a group of us were privy to amazing performances and dancing by/with 50 or 60 of the people that he works with, totally worth yet another morning of not sleeping in.
ROTORUA (MAR 19) - We (3/5 of FUTURE THEFT and ME) showed up late to a house/couch show at THE PROPHET MOTIVE’s house. ROTORUA is a small town INSIDE A VOLCANO and there’s a mortally hot lake mere blocks from their front door and vents seeping billows of steam all over making it look sci-fi and gorgeous everywhere. The Prophet Motive is Mitch and Tittez, they play smart, politically conscious songs on acoustic guitar. Ok… seen it, right?!… B U T their songs are fucking good and I fell asleep and woke up with Mitch’s lyrics and voice blaring in my head for days after every show we played together. If you have any part of you that appreciates clever, angry commentary in your folk punk, check them the fuck out.
PALMERSTON NORTH (sometimes referred to as NEW PLYMOUTH which is INCORRECT) (MAR 20) - PALMY! Admittedly, I was suffering at this show, trying to fight off a massive headache, so I wasn’t paying as much attention as I would like. The shit went down at a venue called THE ROYAL. The Methadonnas opened it up, slaying guitar and drums, no bass. The whole bill was made up of women, which I love, duh, and made me feel super inspired. Valerie, I heard during soundcheck but missed their set (truth, sorry). Everyone was fucking super open and welcoming. Later at the house I hung out with a primary-colors-parrot and got tucked in by two lovely drunk people who were going out to party, while I tried to ditch my aching brain on their couch.
WELLINGTON (MAR 21) - And the last show I got to play in NZ was in WELLINGTON with FUTURE THEFT, Fantails & LADYFRUIT at the downstairs annex of THE BODEGA BAR. Everywhere I went people were raving on FANTAILS. They’re awesome, fast, punk and their lyrics are multi-lingual. LADYFRUIT is a sass with a powerful voice and a non-chalant relationship with pre-recorded tracks on an mp3 player thru the PA… Later, at the house, we were regaled by Will Colvin playing simple, too drunk acoustic songs that were fucking good. He kept interrupting himself and forgetting the next part, but I could feel it when he dropped a song cuz the songs were so good they were holding me up, rapt. I’m thinking Planit-X-ish? Clever, stupid, funny lyrics. Bravo, Will.
Gigantic thanks to all of you that helped make these things a reality, that tour was a game-changer for me and my gratitude is heaps deep. If I left you out of this essay or fucked anything up in my recollection, please tell me!!
Peace out til next time, Aotearoa, I’ll be back, I love it to much to stay away.
KIWI SCENE REPORT // ERICA FREAS TOUR 2014
Hello. This is a public dance floor. Put in a $2 coin for 1/2 hr… there’s a headphone jack cable in that washing machine to plug yer MP3 player into… This is AWESOME (at Dance O Mat)
hmmmmmm…. well they’re not anywhere but it’s something like:
on the d string play the 7th fret, 4th, 2nd while droning the A string… (hey baby, i’m bein ginger)… then for the ooo-ooo-ooo part i play a the b power chord, Am open chord, B power, D power, then back to the lead on the D string. And i fuck around and zoom around on that D string lead, that’s the only variation.
G O O D L U C K
—-> i’m sure whatever you come up with off of that will be beautiful xo
R E C O R D. R E L E A S E. ⚡⚡⚡ in Melbourne last night. Sydney tonight. Dog House Party 🐶 #tether #sofast #ericafreasaustour
@softmagic I took liberties w our photostrip 💋 #therewent2hours #bellyoncassette #onebricktoday @terrajayneee
these’ll be released on ONE BRICK TODAY (Sydney, Australia) in January 2014 for that Australian tour I’m doing… hello?! what a life!
This is an example of silencing:
"also, official statement: FUCK RVIVR + anyone who uncritically reblogs or supports their rhetoric."
Sure, fuck RVIVR, that’s fine.
Fuck anyone who doesn’t have the same critique as this person?
Think for yourself.
To all of you who have taken the time to write me beautiful, articulate, passionate and painful personal messages about what accountability means and has meant to you:
It’s amazing the stories that we are all carrying (often silently) inside ourselves. So. Much. Strength.
I’m 30 odd shows into a 60 show tour with my band, RVIVR. I would love to write this from the quiet zone of my house where I could really spend as long as I wanted thinking and revising exactly what I want to say, but I’m pissed so I’m drafting from the road…
This is about sexual assault. I’m not going to use internet code so that my words are accessible to people who don’t already know all that vocabulary.
I called attention to a zine in Cambridge, Boston that was part of a consent-themed collection brought by the diy, (amazing) volunteer run Support Boston collective. It was called “How to Find a Helpful Therapist.” The piece is from a grater collection in a zine called “Its Down to This.” It was written anonymously by a sexual assault perpetrator about their experience attempting to be accountable for their fucked up actions of sexual violence. It was amid other classic zines on consent and survivor stories/experiences.
Some people were hurt by how I spoke about the zine; that I said anything at all; that the zine was at the show; and/or that the zine exists at all. One of these people called me and RVIVR rape-apologist. This has been reblogged with attitudes like perpetrators should receive NO resources, that all resources should be reserved for survivors. That ALL perpetrators should be killed. That accountability is bullshit. People will never change. That I deserve a can of pepper spray to the face for speaking up about diy resources for perpetrator accountability. There’s been an editing battle on the RVIVR wikipedia page.
When I read these posts I wonder if these people are thinking about the reality of the big picture…
What happens to the people who offend? Prison? Lethal injection? Murder? Move on to another scene? Do they disappear? Lie loudly that they didn’t do it and turn the situation into a “they said/they said” battle? What about when it’s YOU who fucks up and seriously hurts someone else? What about when your best friend/sibling/someone you LOVE is revealed as a perpetrator?
In contrast, we’ve had many many more conversations in person, at our shows, with people who are curious, concerned and consistently reasonable. For the hundreds of “likes”, reblogs, “broken hearts”, people that “expected something like this”… not ONE person has contacted us over the internet to clarify the situation or express their anger.
I’m not upset that the initial person chose to call me a rape apologist. I’m not linking their post so that people will leave them alone. They’ve asked to be left out of the public discussion of this. Of course it affected us. I wanted to quit and go home. Now, after a bunch of reflection and questioning, I feel a stronger conviction.
We speak about challenging stuff at our shows. We’re a fucking punk band. We’re not gonna stop. Rape culture is a fucking challenge in our world, as well as within punk. Sometimes we are gonna talk about trying to end it. It affects all of us.
I’m not writing this to convince anyone to like my band. I literally do not care. Our shows are amazing when they are full of people who truly want to be there. I’m writing because I can’t stand-by while this message is proliferated:
Don’t speak up about sexual violence (or any “triggering”, relevant, important subject that affects us all) unless you say it in the “correct” way or you’ll be called an apologist and have physical violence threatened against you…
Silence is one of the most powerful ways that rape culture continues. As we all know, shame keeps us silent, fear of not being believed keeps us silent, fear of being pushed out of our scenes keeps us silent, FEAR OF SAYING THE WRONG THING keeps us silent.
To be clear, NO ONE is obligated to give people who have fucked up so extremely even a sliver of their energy or compassion. Ostracization and violence are tools that have their place and their consequences and we all have the right to choose when and if we want to use them.
As well, many people DO have the energy, compassion, desire to work toward restorative/transformative justice, accountability efforts, support groups, etc, for people who made the fucked up choice to assault someone, and/or are afraid of perpetrating (again).
Thank you to these people doing this complicated and often controversial work!
You’re efforts are noticed and we are grateful for them!
We need you!
I’m glad that I spoke about this zine. I apologized for hurting people with my words, my apology was sincere. You can read it on my tumblr page. I don’t post a million things so it’s like four down.
To those of you who thought my apology was weak, fake, insufficient, a “non-apology.” I DO NOT apologize for disagreeing with y’alls point of view about perpetrator accountability. It’s important to have diversity in tactics.
Go on with yours, but leave your agenda off of us.
I think it’s important for some people to hear the voices of others who have chosen to address their fucked up decision to hurt another person through sexual violence. This is why we need resources that role model a path to accountability in a responsible way. The alternative is an ever-present rape culture that affects all of us. The alternative is a broken judicial system that doesn’t nurture or often even believe survivors.
Yes, accountability can be problematic and we’ve all got many stories and experiences of people abusing accountability processes to gain status and/or manipulate others. It also DOES work sometimes with willing and honest participants. It may work more often if there are more resources guiding people toward this less-travelled outcome.
Like anything, there’s gray area.
Ok, also, it is reasonable that the zine was anonymous, if the author were identified I would wonder what their intentions were and whether they were trying to gain cred through their “accountability efforts.” If they were identified it could draw the other people involved in their assault, (like the survivor/s), back into the spotlight.
Let’s say it all together now:
IT IS NOT THE JOB OF SURVIVORS TO EDUCATE PERPETRATORS & ABUSERS.
And in order to self-educate people need resources, role-models, voices that reflect their experience.
IT IS NOT THE JOB OF SURVIVORS TO END SEXUAL ASSAULT.
It IS the job of perpetrators, would-be perpetrators, ANY OF US who have the energy in our scenes, communities, bars, parties, collectives to talk about the reality of rape culture, the reality of it’s existence within our subcultures and what resources we have to end this violence.
To me, this method of tumblr “activism” seems more focused on tearing down other leftists who have a different means toward a similar end goal. There are real issues that matter a hell of a lot more than when some stupid band said a thing at one show.
Where’s the gray area?
Why can’t we, the queer feminist gender*fuckers, see beyond the binary?
Why the fuck are some people so fixated on the exact wording rather than reaching for the underlying message?
Why is this a debate/write-off rather than a dialogue?
Why do some of us expect the very worst of each other?
Hiding behind your keyboard, anonymously altering a wikipedia page with misinformation. These are cowardly, fraudulent “actions.” You do injustice to the very people you howl about protecting. You do injustice to a legacy of survivors and individuals outside “the system” working toward ending rape culture. You do injustice to your fucking selves.