Metal show brings a woman’s touch

By WilliamPrentiss

Gender bias and delicate ears have no place at a rock show. Once the music starts, any question about a woman’s ability to bring the noise is indisputable, and the bands of Dame-Nation will prove it.

Chicago Girls Rock will unleash its first show in Chicago at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., on Feb. 20. Whiskey Blonde, Hannah Ford, High Gloss Black, Sage 4, F.H.O.D., Losing Scarlet and Deadmanswake will all perform during the eight-hour concert. “Rock of Love” contestant and Chicagoan Ambre Lake will host the all-ages show, which starts at 5 p.m.

Eric Sanchez, Chicago Girls Rock spokesman, said CGR’s goal is to perform three shows a year. Planning for Dame-Nation started in November when Sanchez and his partner decided they wanted to have an event focusing on female rockers.  They considered showcasing two or three groups, but found that a much deeper line-up would make more sense. The more bands they can give a leg up to, the better.

“I’ve always been drawn to female singers because it takes a lot for any rock band to put something together and be a good band and have a female front up there,” Sanchez said. “I’m not going to say I think they’re oppressed, but I just don’t think they get the same breaks as a lot of other bands do.”

The audience will have the opportunity to meet the musicians at the end of the show, and fans will be able to buy CDs at a merchandise area. Jodi Kell, Losing Scarlet’s lead singer, said she’s excited about the concert and thinks it’s going to be a good show.

Losing Scarlet began playing as a band two years ago. They have already released one CD, and expect to release their second Oct. 10. She said she feels like women are treated differently in rock groups and that it can both help and

hurt them.

“This is definitely a male-dominated industry,” Kell said. “When you’re looked at as a female, you’re either not taken seriously or it works to your advantage because there’s not very many women in rock.”

Kell said her band has become heavier with their music, but she doesn’t scream like other vocalists, although she has felt pressure to be like other female musicians.

“I do have a lot of people coming up to me saying, ‘Oh you guys should scream, maybe you should try this,’” Kell said. “I don’t like to do it … I love Evanescence, Flyleaf and In this Moment. Those three bands have definitely inspired me to do what I do, but I want my own music, my own look, my own sound.”

Part of the focus of the show was to create a sense of unity among the bands and their fan base. Kryssie Ridolfi, lead singer of Deadmanswake, said F.H.O.D. told Sanchez about her band. Deadmanswake has played with female-led bands in the past, but never on a bill featuring only female-led bands.

“The whole female-fronted thing transcends genres, and we can really pick up some new fans from this,” Ridolfi said. “As lame as it sounds, I really hope that little girls go home after this show and are really inspired to pick up an instrument.”

Ridolfi said there are some fans that follow female-led bands exclusively.

“The two cancel each other out,” Ridolfi said of the good and bad sides to being a woman in the metal scene. “And it’s a nice little wash.”

For more information about the bands and to buy tickets,