Forest & the Femme Fundraiser – May 10th, 2014 – Astoria, Vancouver, BC

Forest & the Femme Fundraiser Show – Live at the Astoria Pub – May 10th, 2014 – Vancouver, BC

One show, born out of the death of another. I spoke to Freya, drummer for Disworship, about how it started. She said they were asked to play Grindcore Pizza Party, but got a call saying Crackwhore was added to the bill. Crackwhore’s known for songs like “Cum-Stained Murder Weapon,” “Feeding the Pigs,” and “Chainsawdomized.”

The Astoria decided to cancel the show, which prompted a Facebook backlash. “Comments ranged from ‘let’s start a grope pit’, memes of rape scenes… to telling us to go knit some sweaters and stay out of the music biz.

Evan Hardy, organizer and bassist for Dead Again was disappointed in the misogyny, and wanted to “turn it around, and turn the evening into an exclusive, and positive event.” Dead Again’s drummer Shaun added, “I support any organization that reaches out to people, especially women, in the DTES.” He said that with funding cuts, many programs are having to compete for money. “Events such as the one held last night are becoming the only way to secure revenue.”

Curmudgeon announced, “This is our first show, so the drunker you are the better we’ll probably sound!” The drum and guitar duo have a chaotic, wild sound. They didn’t have the finesse of other bands, but after a long week at a desk it’s exactly what I needed. Noelle, the drummer, said they decided to play because it’s a good cause that they felt good about supporting.

Newt came next – I love seeing a band that’s really enjoying themselves when they play. The set was short (their entire Pond Scum album is under 8 minutes), but good – very heavily bass-driven. When I spoke to Devlin, he said he heard about the replacement show, “then when I found out it was a benefit show for women in the downtown east side I got really stoked.

Amnesian played a really tight set, and their drummer is amazing. I saw them a month back, and they were even better this time. They said “the narratives of those who fall through the cracks in society need to be acknowledged. Forest and the Femme is a bright sign in the struggle to help individuals who live these narratives, and being active in raising funds to help keep the program afloat is a way of us giving back to the world.

Following them was Bungus. I liked the contrast between the two vocalists’ ranges. Their set list seemed to be more a guideline than an actual rule – there was a pause when the guitarist and the band turned out to be playing different songs, but they got it sorted. Jordan said that they were happy the event was a positive one and raised money for marginalized women. “The DIY community always impressed me with what it can do.” The other vocalist chimed in, “it was great to play with good bands who are also good friends, for a good cause and to make a point that this music is about real matters and not being childish and antagonistic.”

Dead Again hit the floor with a much darker sound. This is the music you’d hear if you were in a horror movie with an indescribable Lovecraftian creature, and it’s impossible to hold still to. Evan said it meant a lot that “a bunch of people stood up and said that shitty misogynistic bullshit won’t be accepted in our community.” Shaun added that Forest and the Femme “opens up new worlds in nature for many women who have heretofore never had the opportunity to experience the outdoors in a meaningful, healing capacity.” Their singer Cole also designed the gorgeous poster for the show.

Disworship started from a ritualistically slow drone beat before kicking it up with Sark’s growled lyrics on torture squads. Freya said she was glad of Disworship’s support. “It’s so important so other women feel safe and comfortable to play music and to be equal, something Disworship knows about and supports!” Bassist Kavan added, “though I am one who enjoys playing music in almost any environment, it means a lot to me to be able to participate in an event like this in support of an amazing organization like FATF. To me it is a shame on society and the human race that such issues exist that warrant the need for an organization like FATF but as is the case, I will always back such movements.”

Seeing everyone coming together was fantastic. The show donated all door receipts to Forest and the Femme, a non-profit outdoor recreation program for marginalized women living in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, focusing on women with multiple and intersecting vulnerabilities. That’s a fantastic result for a story that started out so unpleasantly.

(Previously published at Bucketlist Music Reviews)

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