Punk Rock & Gender Roles

I can’t say I find myself headbanging very often. My hair is pretty short and that type of behavior doesn’t really mix with a lot of the scenes I run through these days, but, there I was. Honest-to-goodness headbanging, beer in hand, maybe 3 feet from a giant speaker, standing in a bar on Houston Street. I’d not been to anything that resembled a punk, metal or thrash show in years, especially with the slow, agonizing death of CBGBs, but a friend had tipped me off to a new sound that was making its debut this evening, so I made my way over. Was he ever right, JENNCiTY is definitely an act I can’t wait to hear more from. The group has female lead vocals & lead guitar which is a sorely needed presence in this space, now more than ever. But, back to the punk rocking.

JeNNCity was belting out some excellent rawk while the bassist & drummer held it down exactly as they were supposed to. The guitar work remained impressive and impeccable throughout, while the entire performance smacked of competence and talent. I re-checked my phone to confirm this was their debut performance and they’d not been dealing with flack from the pop-punk movement in the late 90’s and were old hacks by now. The clear vision of the specific punk sound that Jenn wanted was executed perfectly, and their tiny 30 minute set let the crowd hollering loudly for more. I think she may have milked the producer of the event for one more song which was handily applauded. After being introduced to the band & the friends/other supporters, there was much retiring to the bar for discussion and additional beers.

One of the things I think was lost with the disappearance of real punk was the intelligent rebellion that came with the awareness of societal rules & order, but the knowing rejection of it. The “Black Flag”-like awareness of the system and how to not be nice to it anymore. One of the things that comes with this rebellion is the liberation of women from societally mandated soapboxes, hopefully. In other words, why I was so happy to be sharing beers with independent, intelligent women who aren’t fretting about what’s going to happen if they act as independent entrepreneurial, artistic or philanthropic agents. There was a confidence among the ladies that I shared drinks with that I wager is hard to maintain in today’s deluge of misogynistic cultural sewage we force our fairer sex to consume.

This is one of the voices that I feel is strategically lacking in the morass of marketing messages we imbibe daily. It is that confident upheaval & irreverence in face of increasingly dysfunctional systems that are there to support (supposedly) the mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts & unrelated women we all know and cherish. The authority figure, the matriarch that does not bow down to the powers that be, but who stands up for what is right. Even in the face of threats to their family and their homestead. That, to me, is the very definition of punk rock. But, some would call me old fashioned I guess.

This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.


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