An avid gig-goer since I was old enough to get into them (well, technically before I was old enough- being slightly tall for your age growing up did have it’s advantages, I guess) I have never ever felt more inspired and empowered than I did watching Dream Wife in the sweaty, 200 capacity basement venue Stereo in Glasgow.
London based three piece Dream Wife, consisting of Rakel- vocals, Alice- guitar & Bella- bass, released their self titled debut back in January, and since then they haven’t stopped: getting acclaim all over the world for their feminist statements & catchy riffs.
A delight to watch, even more of a delight to listen to, they fired through a (sadly) short set for a headline band. Although, they do only have one album released, so that’s understandable. Their sound was explosive, sounding exactly like the album, only with much more energy. You can tell they thrive on playing live gigs, and every member was doing exactly what she loved doing. Rakel commanded the stage, could control every audience member with a sweet smile and fierce eyes. Alice’s guitar seemed like a part of her, she made it look so effortless, and Bella’s punchy basslines almost shook the building.
20 years before Rakel stood on stage demanding that all “Bad Bitches”- anyone who identifies as female take their space at the front of the stage and dance, bands of the Riot Grrrl movement were dominating male orientated scenes, shouting similar statements. This was the single most incredible moment I think I’ve experienced at a gig, as a lot of the time I’ve been too scared or anxious to be at the front of a gig. All rows directly in front of the barrier were all girls and women of different ages, sizes, races and backgrounds and we were all there for the same reason. We felt something in the music and wanted to sing and dance along. We had as much right to be there as anyone did, and I think it was an extremely powerful statement of Rakel to almost prove this to us.
A chorus of “I am not my body, I am somebody” (From their single “Somebody,” a song exploring the effects and almost cultural norm of sexual harrasment, a subject that sadly, a lot of people can relate to) screamed at the top of their lungs, gave me chills, and I’m sure the band felt that too, as Rakel came down into the crowd during the rousing, punky “F.U.U” to jump about, dance and give us all hugs.
It was one of my favourite gigs of all time, and one I certainly won’t forget in a hurry. I already look forward to Dream Wife’s next release and I admire them for keeping the riot grrrl ethos relevant, and introducing it to a new generation of “Bad Bitches.”