Girls to the Front

Moony of Redlok & The Moon Child is one of the front-women appearing at Girls Up Front IMAGE: Felicity Doyle

“The Spice Girls have a lot to answer for, but ‘girl power’ in mainstream music is one of the better things they brought us.”

And the Girl Power amp will be dialed all the way up this weekend when Molly Malones hosts an incredible line-up of some of Townsville’s own female-fronted bands.

Girls Up Front is the brain child of local music promoter Jade Kennedy, who is out to close the gaping gender gap that still exists in the music industry.

“The main stereotype for women’s roles in music is the groupie,” says Jade. “You’d think we’d be past that these days, but that’s what gets perpetuated by a lot of mainstream media and pop culture: look at Penny Lane in Almost Famous, for example, or the journalist that loses her mind over the quintessential ‘rock god’ Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages.

“Some of the best bands in the last few decades have been fronted by women: Fleetwood Mac, The Divinyls, Blondie, Garbage, No Doubt, The Eurythmics… I think it’s something that should be celebrated.”

Saturday’s Girls Up Front gig rounds up some of the most exciting acts to come out of Townsville right now (note: no “female” modifier needed) including Band of Dawn, Tash Zappala, TILLY, KC and the Moonlight Band, and Redlok and the Moon Child.

“We’ve got a mix of solos and bands; we’ve got folk, blues and a little bit of rock covered, and it should be a nice mix of new and familiar faces,” Jade says.

“These girls are just as talented as their male peers, and they work just as hard on their professional development, so it’s worth getting out and supporting them wherever possible. Women in music are a minority, but they face all of the same obstacles as men  – they pay the same amount for their gear, they load in the same equipment, and they have to win over the same crowd as anyone else.”

Moony, front-woman for Redlok & The Moonchild, who are fast gaining momentum across the North, agrees many of the girls are still missing out on opportunities afforded to their male counterparts.

“It’s something I hadn’t consciously noticed until this year when I saw a festival line-up with not a single female-fronted band!” says Moony.

“It seems that men can jump around stage and go wild and have a powerful raw experience and the crowd always goes nuts like a reflection… I’ve seen talented female artists do the same to a heartbreaking response of cringes and murmuring whether she should be holding herself with a little more dignity. That being said, there are so many bold, energetic upcoming women that hopefully this is already changing.

“There are some awesome female musicians who have played in Townsville for years, paving the way and inspiring others to put themselves out there. We owe it to them that there have been these different, fresh sounds blossoming lately. It’s awesome to see events like this where we all band together (pardon the pun) supporting and inspiring each other as sisters rather than competitors.”

Jade says the reaction to Girls Up Front indicates Townsville punters are ready to ride the wave of change.

“The concept has been so widely received, we’ll hopefully be able to make it a regular event,” Jade says.

Catch Girls Up Front at Molly Malones from 7pm on Saturday, 3 June 2017. Tickets $10 at the door.

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