Sunday, August 3, 2008

Girls Rock

We spent yesterday afternoon watching 17 bands. We weren't at Lollapalooza, no siree. We were at the Chicago Metro, where those 17 bands--populated by girls between 9 and 16 years old--played one original song each in the span of ninety minutes.

For those who've never seen a final performance of Girls Rock Camp, 1) try to remedy that as soon as possible, and 2) here's a short primer on how it works: Seasoned female musicians from the local rock scene volunteer as counselors, then coach the girls in learning to play instruments (many of them have never picked up a guitar, bass, or drumsticks), writing an original song, and coming up with a catchy band name -- all in a single week! At the end of that week the girls make their debut at the Metro, one of the premiere rock clubs in Chicago.

We went to last year's final performance because our friend Isabella was a camper. Here she is making her father proud by following his example on the drums.

We were so taken with the entire experience that this year we took our economic stimulus crappage and gave a scholarship to the camp. It was exciting to watch the show and know we'd helped one of those girls to find herself on stage.
These girls have an amazing spirit of perseverence. No matter what happens, the show must go on. They may miss their cues, forget their lyrics, or discover their instruments weren't plugged in, and you'll watch them work together to help their bandmates catch up, even if it means repeating a verse or coming up with an impromptu fill.

The looks range from grungy tomboy to pint-sized Madonna. I'm not enough of a poker face to hide which I prefer (but seriously, does a 10-year-old need all that make-up and lace to feel like a rock star? She's got a Fender in her hands, for criminy's sake).
They come up with names like Outlet, Hot Pink Streaks, the Electrolytes, the Mango Lassies, Allergic Reaction, and Contagious Love (of Chicken and Potatoes). A quick inventory of song titles includes 'Get Outta My Face,' 'Spitting Venom,' 'Dottie Dangerous,' 'Carlos the Watermelon,' and 'AHHHHH!'


I thought this entry might be a detour from my usual focus on the neighborhood, until I found out that our neighbor Tina, from just up the block, helped to coordinate this year's camp, and her daughter--who goes by the stage name Bubblegum Ferocious--was the lead singer of Mace, which certainly rocked the house.


tracy said...

Remember Sadie Mae, the surprise baby of the Lawrence hipster world? She is now old enough to have attended Girls Rock camp! (Last year maybe?) I see she was in very good company.

Christy said...

Wow! Hard to believe how quickly the time goes.

LazyMF said...

great post. I've shared it with others.

leslie said...

So cool! Okay, there's another "pro" on the eternal Should We Move Back to Chicago list...

Sahara said...

Good for people to know.