So, you guys: about this past Thursday night.
This is something I have said a few times in the past on social media, to describe the excitement and magnitude of a given party or event I was in the building for. It bears repeating for this situation:
If you were not a Brighton Music Hall last Thursday night for the Ladies of Boston Rock party: you were totally at the wrong party.
The Boston music scene has long been rich with knockout female talent, going back decades. The Bristols, … Lizzie Borden and the Axes … Robin Lane and the Charbusters … Aimee Man … Mary Lou Lord … Juliana Hatfield … Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo … Tanya Donelly & Gail Greenwood of Belly … K’Loni Sky … Mei Ohara … I see ALL y’all. Seriously, I could sit here for hours and list off the scores of ladies that have made an indelible mark on our liberal arts community, but as it goes, it would require another article entirely to do it (and I would love to write it). So, of course, upon hearing there was a bill planned titled Ladies of Boston Rock – shining a light on some of today’s hardest-hitting creators in our scene, repping the females who make Boston music what it is today – I knew this was an unmissable situation.
Adding even more levels of “unmissable” to this night: every act represented on this bill featured a performer I have long supported. Just as important, these were performers I am proud to share a professional association – and in some cases, personal friendships – with.
DJ LEAH V
Anyone who is anyone in our community recognizes the name LeahV. Mixtress extraordinaire of the 617; multi-time award-winning DJ & producer, and also acknowledged many times over as a nominee, placing her among the area elite. It was my honor to work with Leah in the booth in times past, and to support her efforts on the 1s & 2s throughout many of them crazy, crazy party nights. This bill could not have asked for a more appropriate representative of the decks (the only other candidates I could possibly think of to fit this bill would be fellow mixtresses Bianca Oblivion & Saucy Lady); Leah – per usual – set the night on fire with a mix of hip-hop, R&B and party jams from the vintage to the modern, opening the evening and spinning between live sets. So of course, when dropping that sweat equity onstage, LeahV has also got to keep her fashion game on 100; as you can see above, Leah was as dressed to kill as ever.
Ah. Speaking of kill…
These days, LeahV contributes more to our community than DJing & producing her own material; she is also a linchpin member of a new power trio named ORCHIDS. Indie electronic pop seasoned with rock and trip-hop, ORCHIDS consists of Leah, Nicole Marie (a darling, hard-working lady I have known since meeting her on the set of the feature film The Mayor of Rock and Roll), and Alex Fio. While ORCHIDS has not been around for too long, one can already sense an undercurrent of support bubbling beneath the surface for them. The Big O left the growing audience at Brighton Music Hall completely blown away, you guys: whether you were right there front and center or coolin’ up in the green room, you could hear Nicole’s haunting vocals far and away, and mane, you FELT it. One must simply make it a must; this is a trio that’s got the goods. Expect to hear much more from ORCHIDS in the weeks & months to come. Facts only: experiencing ORCHIDS onstage is not something one can say “No thank you” to.
My connection with the powerhouse Shea Rose dates back to 2010, a time when I c0-hosted the LEGACY Radio show with “Boston’s R&B Sensation” K’Loni Sky. On a special broadcasy featuring nominees for that year’s New England Urban Music Awards, Shea was a call-in guest; yet in spite of not being a physical in-studio presence, you could get a sense of her genuine enthusiasm, confident-yet-humble attitude, and true love for her craft. Along the way since that night, Shea graduated Berklee College of Music, racked up awards of recgonition, and has graced the cover of Boston’s most respected publications. There is a reason why Shea is one of the few nominees from 2010’s Urban Music Awards to still be a thriving creative force today. Her love for her work is the real deal, family.
This was evident when she of the Rock ‘N’ Rose took the stage on Thursday night. Powerful, soulful, drenched in sweat, power and attitude, Shea Rose lit up the Brighton Music Hall stage. In particular, a standout memory for me was Shea tag teaming with the dynamic Shaina Schwartz. I zero in on the track titled “Transformation” when this moment comes to mind. Everything just clicked on all cylinders; you just focused completely on the stage before you, and you were transfixed by the experience. Next thing you knew, she was joined onstage by the hip-hop queen of the night, the homegirl Dutch ReBelle. To hear this duo team up onstage was, for Mr. Golden, the night’s standout highlight. These are ladies who represent the power and glory that comes with being a star female performer in today’s music scene; and you guys, for those moments, they owned the city of Allston and the 617 itself.
Through her work on her own as well as one of the Famous Nobodies, Dutch ReBelle reigns today as one of Boston’s finest hip-hop artists, recognized by the Boston Music Awards as the 2014 Hip-Hop Artist of the Year. It was my true pleasure to spotlight Dutch on the first Boston VIPs broadcast of 2015, easily one of the most charismatic guests I have ever featured on the show. You knew with Dutch closing the Ladies of Boston Rock bill, the night was ending on a billion. Needless to say (but you already know I will say it anyway), Shea had Brighton Music Hall going UP from the moment her set began. Bruh, the people were just going ham and didn’t stop until the final proverbial drop of the mic. Through reflective, inner-directed lyrics peppered with elements of humor, Dutch spoke to her audience like school was in session; with beats of the trap variety yet harkening back to the roots of the hip-hop sound, one could say Brighton Music Hall became a zoo.
Speaking on the personal tip, I am super proud of the way Dutch ReBelle represents Boston’s hip-hop community. She’s experienced the tough rigors of the street life, kept her head high, became a dope creative recognized as very best in her city, and through it all, she continues to smile, turn opportunities into momentum, and create new levels of the game that forces the rest to work harder & catch up. Kiss kiss. Bang bang.
The Ladies of Boston Rock party was, no doubt, an epic Thursday night movie. I’ve got to salute my dude Jeremiah Seymour, who came through with his party pic game on point (notice my resistance to using the word “fleek”; oh… I just did). It was also rad to have my squad in the building; Bri-Bri, Cathy Cathodic, Kim Keelan, Bobby BanGers, Andrew Wilson, Colin… yessir, the party goes up & reaches the stars when you guys walk in. Also, I must show love to Marquis – repping Dutch ReBelle – for granting us media access to the event.
This, you guys, was a true Thursday night Smackdown.