On Wednesday, August 10, Weird Sister Records and Popgun Presents partnered with the Abortion Access Front to throw a raucous riot grrrl summer bash at Elsewhere. The bill flaunted exceptional all-queer/female talent, including Brooklyn’s charismatic punk outfit Eevie Echoes, who started the night off with a bang with hilarious and heart-wrenching self-aware anthems with an infectious call-and-response interplay between the band and the audience on their song “wet blanket.”
Eevie Echoes live at Elsewhere 08/10/2022
Boston’s indie pop-rock quartet Mint Green followed suit with a slew of high-energy pop punk polemics railing against harassment and heartbreak. Frontwoman Ronnica’s soulful voice and emotionally-strained delivery hearkened back to the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Paramore.
Mint Green live at Elsewehre 08/10/2022
The final act was headliner VIAL, the critically-acclaimed riot grrrl outfit from Minnesota whose set consisted of dynamic punk bangers with a ripping relentlessness that would make Richard Hell, Iggy Pop, and Black Flag combined piss themselves. VIAL’s song compositions consist of everything you’d ever want in a punk song and more–throbbing power chords, blundering drum patterns, scathing lyrics about running misogynists over with cars, and keytar. The final three songs of their set incited riotous mosh pits of predominantly young girls and non-binary youth, a truly powerful and liberating scene to behold.
VIAL live at Elsewhere 08/10/2022
A Grrrl’s Two Sound Cents spoke with organizers and Weird Sister Records founders Deanna DiLandro and Maddison Hetterly backstage. DiLandro and Hetterly shared the process behind organizing the show, taking direct action to spread awareness about abortion access in a post-Roe America, promoting women and other marginalized genders in live music, and using their platform to become a force for positive change.
How and when did you decide to put this event together?
Deanna DiLandro: We wanted to do a summer blowout bash of some kind. We get a lot of life force from throwing events, and after the recent Supreme court ruling with Roe v. Wade, we wanted to respond in an epic way that also brought bands together that we love. We knew that we needed to respond to this in a way that puts our collective anger to use in a way that would also bring people together.
Would you say that combining activism and music is super vital?
Madison Hetterly: We’ve always been inspired by the way the Riot Grrrl movement connected activism with music and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to put on an event that combined all of that, especially with what has happened recently [with the Supreme Court ruling], to bring people together to rage and celebrate good music and musicians that love.
And how did you initially connect with Abortion Access Front?
DiLandro: We just reached out to them, because we thought it was important not only to be advocating for safe abortions but also to involve the people who are advocating every day. And what we love about Abortion Access Front is that they’re doing this work through the lens of comedy. If you look on their website with all of the materials they include, it’s not only really digestible, but it’s also really funny. And you’ll see that the person that’s gonna be up on stage presenting also works on the Feminist Buzzkill podcast. One of the creators of Feminist Buzzkill is actually the co-creator of the Daily Show, so they’re all from these incredible performance backgrounds and they’re all over the country doing this work. So we thought AAF would be perfect to give these resources to people in conjunction with our riot grrrl aesthetic and all of the missions that riot grrrl advocates for. And they said, yes, they were like, “Hell yeah, let’s do it!”
How did you first discover the organization?
Hetterly: I saw them at every protest I went to in New York this summer, and I thought they would be the perfect people to reach out to, because they are the definition of showing up and showing out to protect abortion rights.
How did you initially put the Weird Sister label together?
DiLandro: Madison and I come from a lot of different industry backgrounds, and through them all, we’ve experienced white male toxicity where we were undervalued. It came to a head in early 2020. BLM was happening and I was absolutely fed up with the work environment I found myself in and Madison was feeling the same way. I brought the idea to Madison because she already had a blog called Indie Witches where she highlighted female, non-binary, and trans femme artists around the world. She was hesitant at first, but then she realized how urgent a mission like this was for the current cultural climate. So it was a product of our own personal experiences and today’s political climate. It continues to snowball into something more and more beautiful, and we want to continue that energy because until businesses like ours start growing and thriving, there’s not going to be a tipping point towards equality in the industry.
Support Weird Sister Records online here.
Volunteer or donate to Abortion Access Front here.