By: Gabriele Esposito-Wilcock
It is not often that I get to see shows with bands that have such strong female presence. The other night I got to see Sunflower Bean and Dream Wife to amazing bands with their own distinct styles both headed by women. Sunflower Bean is a group of three with a woman on bass and vocals and Dream Wife is a group of four with women on vocals, bass, and guitar.
As a woman myself it’s great to see more women on stage kicking ass and taking names in an industry saturated with male presence.
Dream Wife is the angry girl punk band I think we’ve all been waiting for. Dream Wife is a band made up of three women on vocals, guitar, and bass, and a man on drums. They took the stage with ferocity and determination. They had strong kicking basslines, wailing guitar, a nice solid drum beat that held it together, and enigmatic lead singer. Each member had their own movement on stage that indicated they each loved being on stage and playing music. The bass player moved backwards and forwards kicking up as she played intensely. The guitar player contorted her body into different sorts of positions as she wailed on the guitar. The lead singer moved freely around on stage and struck power poses every now and then. Songs that were just good on the album became powerhouses on stage through the aggressive of playing of the band. The band also sported an important feminist message in their songs singing lyrics such as ‘I am not by body / I am somebody.’ Dream Wife performed a perfect rendition of their song F.U.U. communicating desire and violence rolled all into one. They add in another tone to the song when incorporating the opening lines of the Spice Girls song Wannabe: ‘I’ll tell you what I want / What I really really want’. This added in another layer to the song and asserted female autonomy. Dream Wife closed out their set with their hit single Let’s Make Out which had the crowd moving around more than they had been throughout the set. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Dream Wife to take over the world.
Sunflower Bean came on next with music that complimented Dream Wife but sounded completely different. Sunflower Bean had a sound that was soft, airy, and delicate giving off an ethereal vibe. Sunflower Bean had a perfect balance of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals that worked together in harmony. The bass player who was also vocals when she was not singing played facing the guitar player facing off in a duel of sorts where they fed off each other’s energy. The band had songs that were more delicate and intricate and songs that were more performative and danceable. They were very excited to play a lot of new songs off of their new record and played them to perfection. The crowd who were very excited to see Sunflower Bean even got a special treat: the band played an extra two songs after the set would normally end because it was the first night of tour and they wanted to express their gratitude for the active crowd.