“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.” -Muhammad Ali Jinnah
I’d be the first to admit that the idea of a ‘girls show’ was…strange to me at first. In 2017, with all of our growing social understanding and focus on being ‘woke’, my initial reaction was along the lines of, ‘Ewww girl music is so lame and if I listen to it for too long I’ll get cooties.’ Call it ingrained social bias. Call it ignorance. Call it general numb-skullery. But I was definitely the most hesitant of the guys in approaching this show, as I figured that most of the songs we’d be playing would have more of a ‘wow this is so silly’ comedic effect rather than having people thinking ‘this is a great show!’
But once we started to prepare, it became apparent just how wrong my apprehensions had been. As always, my bandmates made the right call, and the scales fell from my patriarchy-riddled eyes. Damn, how could I have forgotten all these great tunes?! The realization of my inherently awful thought process on this smacked me in the face like a woman at a bar whacking a creep hitting on her. Women in music aren’t some stereotype. Why would I assume a ‘girls show’ would be nothing but pop drivel and songs about boys? We had to do this show if for no other reason than to celebrate all of the artists who persevered, got to the mountaintop, and made great records in spite of all of the bullshit many guys may have thought about them or their talent.
And boy, was there a lot of talent packed into this setlist. “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” started the night with a bang, a country-pop song by one of Canada’s favorite daughters Shania Twain. An anthem of female empowerment was a perfect metaphor for what we hoped to accomplish throughout the night.
Ace of Base, a group from Sweden, features a female vocalist who somehow blends reggae stylings with pop music in her second language, which you would never expect to come out sounding as great as it does in “The Sign”.
Aretha Franklin has the greatest voice in the history of music!
The Donnas rock as hard as any jackass with a Les Paul, ripped jeans, and long hair!
Alanis Morissette is a damn good songwriter!
The Elbo Room was rocking, the crowd was enjoying themselves, and it honestly felt as great as any other show from the band’s perspective. Any fears of not doing the material justice or not being taken seriously were abated, particularly after we crushed Grace Potter’s kickass take on just wanting to cut the B.S. and have sex already, “Paris”.
And yeah, watching five guys with a penchant for dad rock playing “Baby One More Time” and “Wannabe” is objectively pretty goofy. Maybe we didn’t hit every note in “Always Be My Baby”. But I think the point of this show was that it doesn’t matter. Women aren’t a monolithic prop for males to use whenever it’s convenient. They are here, and have been across all eras, making great songs in the face of a world that is constantly trying to tell them they aren’t good enough. Their strength and power is unrivaled. That’s something to be celebrated, and it was awesome to be able to do that, even if it was just for one night at a rock club on Chicago’s north side.
Facebook event is here. See the full setlist below: