IF YOU watched that recently-surfaced video of the Spice Girls back in the day, tackling media-sexism by destroying a couple of advertising spods on-set, and thought “That’s all very well, but where my contemporary bad-girls at?” – the answer is Leeds. All through December. From Riot Grrls to soppy punx, here’s our pick of the best female-fronted gigs this month.
Hands Off Gretel
Having hit the ground running since their early 2015 debut, Hands Off Gretel have been recognised nationally and internationally by the Alternative Press, as well as by packed out audiences for shows at Rebellion Festival, Camden Rocks, and Whitby Goth Weekend.
Their message of female empowerment goes beyond the honest and frustrated lyrics delivered over a mixture of nineties grunge and post-punk; singer Lauren’s commitment to the DIY ethic extends to hand-written notes and feminist zines included with purchases of their self-made merch and records.
Friday 2 December, Key Club, Ticket
The Julie Ruin
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these last couple of years, you’ve surely heard of The Julie Ruin and the kick-ass Kathleen Hanna. Comprising of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre members, TJR are true pioneers of riot grrl punk rock. Hanna’s piercing post-feminist wails and huge anthems not only cement their status as one of the biggest bands in the punk-sphere but also promotes a real sense of girl power with hit-back anthems such as “Mr So and So.”. Empowering, energetic, and exuding inclusivity, this is a must-go show. Sian Parmar
Monday 5 December, Brudenell Social Club, Tickets
If you’re into sweet, (self-titled) ‘sappy punx’, Bruising are the ones for you. Delicate vocals from lead singer Naomi float above the reverb-drenched, scuzzy guitars for a whole back catalogue of college-riff soaked melodies that scream American Pie. Their latest track “I Don’t Mind” showcases the band’s talents in mixing sweet, sentimental lyrics with bold, heavy guitars. With an already established following, previously supporting Los Campesinos and Diet Cig, the lovely Leeds quartet are not to be missed. Sian Parmar
Wednesday 7 December, Brudenell Social Club, Free Entry
Self-described “slack metal” punks Slowcoaches are a catchy combo of heavy guitars and vocal melodies from singer Heather. Reminiscent of 90s grunge, their moody, melodic punk jams are anything but the apathetic, with a whole host of high-octane performances under their belts. With their new album, Nothing Gives, getting released by Leisure & District in December, the band are sure to secure their fast and furious rise to punk stardom. Sian Parmar
Friday 9 December, Brudenell Social Club, Tickets
Sidonie and Esme - along with friend Harry - decided to start a band while a house party, inspired by their joint love of sixties surf, lo-fi garage and psyche. They didn’t know how to play any instruments, of course, but if you let minor details like that prevent you from startiing a band then you’ll never get anywhere.
Nearly three years on, they’ve taken the North-West by storm, earning praise from the likes of NME and Steve Lamacq, and they can even play instruments now. See, you just have to believe.
They’re playing Wharf Chambers as part of Pizza for the People’s Indie Banquet - joining a bill that includes Cowtown, Team Picture, Party Hardly, Yard Wards, and perhaps most importantly Pizza Guy, and Buckets of Vegan Fried Chicken!!. That’s actual pizza and vegan fried chicken, not just misleading band names...
Indie Banquet, Friday 16 December, Wharf Chambers, Tickets
Cate Le Bon
Last up is someone a little different; the cathartic, calming sounds of Cate Le Bon. Slightly-spooky songs, she’ll have you entranced with the fragility of her voice and trademark doleful tones and sparse guitars cementing the overall emotive force of her music. New album, Crab Day, depicts a journey of growth and confidence as a talented artist. Get lost in her immersive music and see the bewitching Welsh wonder for yourselves. Sian Parmar
Wednesday 21 December, Brudenell Social Club, Tickets