By Melina Paris, Music Columnist
Nasty women gathered all around for the inaugural Nasty Woman Concert Series kickoff July 8 at diPiazza’s Restaurant, Lounge and Nightclub in Long Beach.
Named after Donald Trump’s description of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election cycle, this tour of nasty women is about bringing people together through music.
For Nasty Woman co-founders Amy Crosby and Susan McKenna, this concert series is also about demonstrating consistent resistance to female-suppressive policies from the current presidential administration and political climate.
The total proceeds from the concert will benefit the L-Project Los Angeles. The vision of L-Project Los Angeles is to create sustainable, vibrant and inclusive communities for lesbians and bisexual women of all ages, creeds and races living in greater Los Angeles.
The five bands on the bill foreshadowed a lively night. Each of the female-fronted outfits —Abby & the Myth, Kelly Mantle, Shitting Glitter, No Small Children and Doll Parts — rocked hard. Female drag queen Wendy Ho was master of ceremonies. Between sets, she entertained with a forward and assured brand of comedy and song.
Abby Posner put a face to the name of Abby & the Myth. She charmed the room with her bright voice and dexterous guitar picking. Banjo is also one of Posner’s skills and she showcased that on Rabbit Hole, a song about going down a rabbit hole of infatuation. Abby & the Myth has formulated a unique sound for itself with Posner’s guitar improvisation.
To the audience’s delight, Wendy Ho sang a soulful and suggestive number about male genitalia put to a love song.
Kelly Mantle, a talented singer, actor and musician, is the first openly gender-fluid person to be considered for an Oscar for both Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress for the feature film Confessions Of A Womanizer.
Mantle demonstrated wide musical versatility and sang a mixture of ballads, upbeat numbers and covers, including The Pointer Sisters, Fire and Blondies rap on Rapture. Mantle performed in a soft spoken manner with piercing lyrics, highlighted in the song Equality.
“We’re all living under the same umbrella shielding us from the storms,” Mantle said. “It’s called equality.”
Mantle led into a ballad, singing in part,
I can be a boy or I can be a girl
But I don’t need to live in a separate world
I can be anyone I want to be
Even if you crucify me
Why force me to fight for equality?
Cuz you’ll never be equal to me.
Why do we have to fight for equality?
Isn’t it ironic? So Napoleonic. Isn’t that the T.
The Nasty Woman Concert Series had gathered a full house of fans. The show led off in presentation mellower than anticipated. But the abundance of great musicians changed that. The audience was seduced like someone who arouses a woman with good foreplay to build a rock hard — or hard rocking — show.
Amy Crosby, lead vocalist for Shitting Glitter and event co- founder, wore a hot-pink wig and followed by her bandmates and Posner, this time on electric guitar, showcased her hard rock and punk side. They energized the room with hard driving sound. This band is a mix of glamor, punk, rock and a little rockabilly. Crosby, with her high pitched notes and glamourous backup singer, brought the sass.
Shitting Glitter has played countless shows throughout California and across the country. They have also written and recorded a large collection of original music, several used in soundtracks and compilations.
“We have never felt more emboldened to move forward with tenacity and exhilaration,” said co-founders Crosby and McKenna as a mutual response in an email. “We feel that we have created unity out of words that were meant to divide.”
Three Los Angeles elementary school teachers by day and rock stars by night followed. In an inspired turn this trio, No Small Children, opened with the solo trumpet call of Pete Seeger’s This Land is Your Land.
All dressed in matching sexy red dresses and white sneakers, these glamor girls took rock to a remarkable level of variety. No Small Children is comprised of Lisa Pimentel on guitar and vocals, Joanie Pimentel with bass and vocals and Nicola Berlinsky on drums.
They displayed a consummate range of sound. The band has a great stage presence and strong riffs came from both Pimentel sisters. Bassist Joanie Pimentel not only sings but yodels and has a vicious punk scream. Lisa Pimentel also plays an impressive trumpet.
As surprising as it was great, No Small Children’s presentation activated this audience with their musicianship. In a too brief highlight, both Pimentel’s joined together playing snare drums, sticks tapping away in perfect unison.
The group has captured the attention of a wide range of fans and national media. No Small Children was invited to perform at the Unity Ball in Washington, D.C. immediately following the Women’s March on Washington. They also had the opportunity to cover Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr., which was featured in the Ghostbusters movie remake.
Closing the evening was Long Beach premier all female 90s grunge and alternative cover band, Doll Parts. The members met in a juvenile detention center. The only thing these girls had in common, besides a love of loud grunge music, was their view of an abandoned doll factory across the yard.
All in black, they evoked a mysterious quality which translated to their music. They captured that grunge sound, grabbing aural attention as something independent of rock or punk. It’s a little darker and something deeper than might first be imagined.
The lead singer and guitarist’s voice began subtly but she built to a raspy rebel yell powered by hard, fast driving chords. Their cover of Paula Abdul’s Straight Up, 80s synth and dance heavy, female’s query to her man on their status groove, transformed into a fierce demand replete with the powerful riffs to back it up.
“This is just the beginning of our movement towards the kind of joy, community and strength we intend to maintain, and create, for all women … nasty and beyond!,” McKenna and Crosby said in their joint email. “ Look for us in our next concert in the series in Los Angeles, with eyes on San Francisco, New York and D.C.”