This weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the first of what will hopefully be a series of events called Ladies Rise Up and Rock.
The brainchild of Carl Mancuso, this high-energy concert featured some very talented, female-fronted bands. Its goal is to raise money for Grammy in the Schools, which brings music education to schools all over the country.
That’s the gist, and here’s the dirt. These ladies rocked! First of all, the Regency Lodge in San Francisco was simply gorgeous. It was a wonderful setting for this event. It opened with some fun trash talking by comedian Samantha Hale. This woman was fearless and funny. And then the musical fiesta began.
The first music act was a band called Kiwi Time from San Francisco. Fronted by the lovely Anna Makovchik on keytar (That’s right, it’s not a misprint), Kiwi Time’s high-energy rock and pulsing anthems got the crowd on their feet. More on his band at kiwitimeband.com/.
Then came The Wellspring from LA. I liked this band so much that I bought their CD after the show. Yes, I paid money for a CD. It’s unheard of for a music journalist to do so, but they were that good! Tight and beautiful harmonies merged with well-written songs and interesting, excellently played instrumentation. It was heavenly.
The Wellspring’s core is the duo of Talia Osteen and Dov Rosenblatt. Talia played a Hofner bass while Dov played a Takamine acoustic. They’ve toured across the US opening for Pete Yorn and Ben Kweller, and they had several showcases at this year’s SXSW. They just scored original music for a hilarious upcoming feature film, Coffee Town, which was written and directed by Brad Copeland. I want to see a whole lot more of this band. Check them out at thewellspringmusic.com.
One of the reasons I hauled my butt into the city two nights in a row (Can you believe I went to the ballet the night before?) was to see the amazing and talented Gretchen Menn. Wowza. I am not kidding. Gretchen is one of the best guitarists I've ever seen, male, female or humanoid of any sort. She shreds, she’s classically trained, she can play just about anything. Her trio, consisting of the killer flying fingers of Angeline Saris on bass and powerhouse drummer Thomas Perry, is so tight, I was on my feet with my mouth open the whole time. It was true art and passion at its finest.
I recently listened to her first solo album, Hale Souls, and was so blown away by the variety and beauty melded with forceful driving power. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of shredding going on! I was listening in the car and couldn’t help but wonder who was playing bass. It was Stu Hamm. I can’t wait to see Gretchen play again. Rumor has it a new album is in the works. I’ll keep you posted. More at gretchenmenn.com.
Here’s just a little taste of Menn’s consummate badassery in the video of “Scrap Metal” from Hale Souls:
And just to put a cherry on top of this musical smorgasbord, Menn’s other band, Zepparella, took the stage for the finale. A female Led Zeppelin tribute band, Zepparella’s lineup includes Menn on guitar and Saris on bass with Clementine on drums and Noelle Doughty on vocals. Gorgeous, amazingly talented, badass. What more could you want? They closed with a dynamic, kick-ass version of "Kashmir." I went home with a big smile on my face. More at zepparella.com.
Find out more about Ladies Rise Up and Rock and when the next concert will happen at ladiesriseupandrock.com.