Last Saturday evening (Nov. 26) a show at the Mansion in Vancouver, B.C., brought an end to the historic Smash Partiarchy tour. It featured the five Canadian artists (Anita, Vickie, Kristjanne, Nicole, Katie – weird-outs, every one) who comprise Katie & the Lichen, Mansion Music and KMVP.Smash Patriarchy is more than a catchy title for the trans-continental wanderings of a bold batch of high fever minstrels with impeccable style; It is also a worthy goal, one shared by the National Organization of Women, Black Feminists, the Society for Cutting Up Men, feminist writers the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and other Atheists. This banding together of kindred artists crusading across the plains with political purpose reminds one of the notorious Black Wedge Tour (1986), which is how we first came in contact with Mecca Normal and so many Northern anarchists who scrape, stomp and howl; you can read a bit more about the Black Wedge Tour at Jigsaw Underground (some super-8 footage from the Black Wedge Tour is included in the video for the Mecca Normal song “Strong White Male” from their K debut Oh Yes You Can EP [IPU004], viewable at the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard).
Anyways, the aforementioned Canadians, the ones who Smash Patriarchy before breakfast, were kind enough to allow me to tag along in their van on the L.A. —> Olympia portion of their criss-cross continent tour-a-thon (they had already been on the road for over two months at the point we collide). What a mega-fab experience it was. We chanted, we strummed, we drank almond milk and we bicycled whenever and where ever possible. Heavenly tour time sending ourselves up the West Coast.
Before meeting with the Smash Patriarch Tour I traveled south to Eugene, Oregon with Melanie Valera and Colleen Dixon as they embarked on the west coast Tender Forever tour in celebration of the Where Are We from [KLP237] album. Here is Melanie and Colleen packing their rental car, preparing to leave Olympia:
We arrived in Eugene and I played a show at the Wandering Goat with a Seattle combo Stay Tuned. The next day I was able to visit the Occupy Eugene site and play a few songs before boarding the Amtrak train Coast Starlight to L.A. Here is a sign posted on a telephone poll in the nearby neighborhood, alerting folks to the Occupation:
In Los Angeles the Smash Patriarchy gang met me at the Smell, where we were able to stop by the nearby Occupy L.A. encampment in front of City Hall; sang a few songs there, too. It was too dark for photography, but here is their website (however, they are currently facing eviction).
KMVP (Kristjanne, Anita) start the evening off with a rush. Fire breathes. A guitar and drum set can’t keep up with the power of these chords; a yellow flash. Patriarchy cringes knowing its end is near, smashed in the mouth. In a word, KMVP is monster fun! Hear it for yourself:
Mansion Music (Anita, Katie, Nicole) may take their name from the collective Vancouver dwelling in which some of these Canadians reside. The music peels your mind and your feelings are rawer than you remember, you are tender all over again. To hide your vulnerability you nod your head and snap your fingers. Hear it: you will believe in ghosts.
Katie & the Lichen is comprised of all five wayfaring Canadians. According to All Events (Toronto) they are a “pop-verisimilitudes/sister/pop-verite, all female band. Playing ukes, and melodicas, guitars and drums, and more…crunching class divisions and endorsing and eating feminism. They are unladylike. They are encouragable, endearing and effing adorable.” According to me “Katie & the Lichen are the fun boss rad feminist pop super-car vibe queens of cave-rock.”
They like to lead the chant. Sometimes they say “Smash!” and we say “Patriarchy!”; other times they say “Parks are for people, not for pigs!” and we say “Fuck the pigs!”; then again a popular one is “Minimum wage?” to which we answer “Maximum rage!” During all of this the anger and frustration implied is subsumed in glee, the pure outrageous joy in the yelling, screaming and carrying on. Still, there is anger. Especially in the more Canada-centric chants, about tar sands of Alberta (that’s “oil sands” to you under the thumb of the oil industry’s public relations blitz). Hear the new Katie & the Lichen album Kiss and Run:
Every night was like this, and every night was different. The Smash Patriarchy tour wound its way through San Luis Obispo, Oakland, Sacramento, Chico, blasting Ramones, Mirah, Nirvana, Black Flag and Julie Doiron the whole way. One could say you’ve never really been to Canada until you’ve driven through central California in a van with three Canadian women in the front seat singing along to Julie Doiron at the top of their lungs. We continued north to Corvallis, Oregon appearing at the lovely Interzone Cafe. In Portland we played the record release party for White Rainbow‘s new Dub Narcotic Disco Plate, “The Making of Thriller” [DBN125], at the House of Preblon, where weird-outs abound. Everyone was dancing. More carrying on ensued, plus loads of chanting. The next night was my last with the Smash Patriarchy Tour, in Olympia, Washington. The Hive Dwellers played instead of me, our record release party for the new Dub Narcotic Disco Plate out this week, “Lynch the Swan” [DBN126], and all the various Canadian combos were at their ver bestest. Whew! Some crazed rockin’. These women certainly know how to subvert societal norms with a smile and a wave.
As for the Patriarchy, consider it smashed.