Feminist Rock at its finest – Chastity Belt [rating: 4] were on fine form when they played the Birmingham leg of their long European tour. The band have exclusively toured America over the past few years. With two full LP releases since 2013, they are beginning to find their feet outside of America, with this being their first international tour since forming. And they didn’t disappoint.
Kagoule [rating: 3] gave a good account of themselves with their heavily grunge influenced songs that managed to captivate parts of the audience. Lucy Hatter’s backing vocals worked in perfect harmony with Cai Burns’ Billy Corgan esque lead vocals. Their quick and vast movement around the stage allowed the energy to flow throughout their set. Starting on ‘Gush’ with a Nirvana inspired riff, this let everyone know what to expect from Kagoule – for it to be extremely loud, and extremely heavy. People were not there to see Kagoule alone, but the crowd was on their side by the end, with songs such as ‘Glue’ with its bass heavy sound getting a great reception. Finishing on ‘Made of Concrete’ where the vocal roles are reversed and the tempo slowed down, Kagoule really nailed their set. Their ability to change tempo during a song in the blink of an eye was particularly impressive. These guys have been getting the recognition they deserve, recently supporting Sleaford Mods at Rock City in Nottingham and they’ll be one to look out for on the live circuit in 2016.
Easily pulling the largest crowd for the whole event (which included bands such as The Wytches) there was an evident buzz about these 4 girls from Seattle playing such an intimate venue in Birmingham. Like at the majority of small scale gigs, the band did their own set up and this straight away gave a feeling of normality about the girls, they’re just ordinary people like you and I (except they have some killer tunes.)
The set was centred around their 2015 LP ‘Time To Go Home’ in which the girls had proven themselves as more than just a party band. I asked drummer Gretchen Grimm why this was after the set, with the simple answer of “We just play what we wanna play” and you just can’t argue with that at the end of the day. This said, it took absolutely nothing away from the live experience.
Chastity Belt brought their A game. Though they played very few songs off their debut post punk LP ‘No Regerts’ the songs that were played went down particularly well with the crowd. Julia Shapiro’s lyrics are one of the reasons why fans can feel like they can truly connect with them. Having strong feminist themes to them, large numbers of female fans reacted to the likes of ‘Cool Slut’ and ‘Drone’ by frantically shouting the lyrics and jumping up and down like their lives depended on it. Chastity Belt make women feel like they can be proud in who they are and what they do no matter what, they’re in control of their own lives. You could see there was a strong connection between the female fans and the bands songs. “He was just another man tryna teach me something.” Was belted out by many adoring female fans for the chorus of drone, and rightly so.
Appropriately finishing on ‘Time to Go Home’ the change in tempo from the verse to the chorus got everyone in the room shuffling and the band finished on a high note. As their hit song, it’s an example of how well they blend post punk with elements of jangle pop in their songs.
Chastity Belt are only going to get bigger and better from now. Their live show can simply be just described as very, very fun. Their show at the Hare and Hounds was pulsating from start to finish and I for one can’t wait for them to come back to town.
Big shoutout to Hare and Hounds and This Is Tmrw for putting on a fantastic event in All Years Leaving festival.