Girlschool and Crucified Barbara
Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry, NH
June 13, 2015
Review and photos by John Keegan
Not a group of words you would expect to find together. The front end of Tupelo Music Hall looks like a New England inn. There is a small "packy" in the basement. FYI BYOB with a minimal corking fee. The music room is decent for a barn. No complaints about the sound. They seats were cleared from the back. The stage is a foot off the floor. The crowd is respectable and partisan for a somewhat misplaced show. There are a few familiar faces in the crowd; K Rock from Skeleton Beats, drummer Matt Burns, and two of MBR's finest, Joanie L and Sarah J.
The scenic route results in catching only half of Crucified Barbara's set. Too bad. These Swedish gals wear their mixed influences loud and proud. Mia Coldheart bends a knee and keeps a foot on the neck of the monitor. She has a rough fray along the folds of her vocal cords that you can't ignore. She plays a tart lead guitar. Klara Force, Ida Evileye, and Nicki Wicked on guitar, bass and drums respectively are fast and tight when they lock in the groove and when they fall out to schmear a little junk into the proceedings. They play hard rock with punk edges, metal riffs and bad girl gang vocals. The crowd head bangs along. They stake out the stage with confidence, look great, play hard and fast and get a loud, appreciative reception from the crowd. I regret being late.
Girlschool has had time to amass a shit load of great tunes. They make the point with an opening Demolition Boy's, C'mon Let's Go and The Hunter triple-deckah. Girlschool are journeywomen in all the best senses of the word. When you go to Angie's List looking for a mature, all-girl, NWOBHM hard rock band for your party in the midlands they recommend that you call Girlschool. The tunes are simple hook monsters. Take It Like a Band, Screaming Blue Murder, Yeah Right, Emergency. Distract 'em with the verse, stun 'em with solo and kill 'em with the chorus.
Mid-set, drummer Denise Dufort has a little meltdown at the hands of an unruly snare and takes a hissy fit off the stage. Lead singer Kim McAuliffe heads out to talk her off the ledge. Guitarist Jackie Chambers and bassist Enid Williams start a tune and a drummer from the audience has his Scot Halpin moment when he jumps in and lays it right down. Dufort returns, makes a sheepish apology to the audience and the show goes on.
It's not just the tunes that impress. This is how a crew of real 55+ hard rockin' women age - with class, integrity, beauty, leather and rock. Girlschool could have rested on their laurels if all they had accomplished during a life in music was to make it clear to the head bang boys in 1980 that the girls wouldn't back down. Thirty years on, they take the stage, don't mail in a single note, and give any question about the validity of aging hard rock gals a pointed, black leather boot up the ass. Yeah Right.
Time for some new tunes.