Riot Grrill is a monthly night at The Chemic Tavern in Leeds LS6 that celebrates women making music or saying words. We’ve been running the night for 2 1/4 years, and have had headliners travel from all over the world (mainly Germany) to come and kickass at our little thing.
We are queer and trans positive, and try to make a safe space for everyone at our events.
We do open mic sessions, mixtape exchanges, vegan food, and dance-offs. Men sometimes play at the Grrill too, but it’s important to us that we are providing a platform for artists that can find themselves marginalised or excluded from the mainstream gig circuit. The bands we put on are some of the most amazing I’ve had the pleasure to hear, and they are part of the gigging community here in Leeds. It hurts my heart that the misogynistic, homophobic or transphobic abuse that they get on the streets is often present when they get on stage too.
Anyway, here are ten songs that celebrate kickass women making music (there are kickass men on there too), and here are my feelings about the songs I chose:
1. ‘Look Around The Corner’ – Quantic, Alice Russell, The Combo Bárbaro
Combo Bárbaro are from all over the world, but based in Columbia and feature one of my favourite pianists, Alfredito Linares. Alice Russell is channelling Minnie Ripperton on this track & it’s my sound of Summer. WOAH hot!
2. ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’ – Lauryn HillYeah Summer’s here even in Leeds! Lauryn Hill is the artist I’ve reached for every time the sun comes out since the 90s. There’s not a bad track on that album.
3. ‘Bees’ – Warpaint
Ah it’s hard to pick just one track off the Warpaint album too. (Only 10 songs, are you kidding me?? WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS) I ambushed Warpaint in the toilets at Leeds Festival, and yelled at them about Riot Grrill in a vaguely frightening manner. They were very sweet about it, and said it ‘sounded cool’. Sorry Warpaint!
4. ‘Bizness’ – Tune-Yards
Awesome drums and horns on the Tune-Yards track. I missed them in Leeds when they were here recently. This track has a wicked video too.
5. ‘Venus’ – Anais Mitchell
Woah Anais Mitchell is coming to Leeds next week! (Brudenell Social Club, 3rd June) You should go and see her. Ridiculously good guitarist & songwriter. I’ve played her ‘Hadestown’ album to death. this one’s my favourite track off her latest, ‘Young Man In America’.
6. ‘Providence’ – Ani DiFranco & Prince
Speaking of guitaring and songwriting, Ani DiFranco is a massive hero. People think she’s not cool, but here she is doing a tune with Prince. NO BIG DEAL, JUST PRINCE. My neighbour Tony has met Prince. BOOM.
7.’Anjelica Huston’ – Sky Larkin
I love Sky Larkin, I love Anjelica Huston, this is my anthem for those feelings.
8. ‘Kings and Queens’ – Jesus and his Judgemental Father
Jesus and His Judgemental Father are the real deal. Here’s their song about being trans in Leeds or anywhere.
9. ‘Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win’ – Beastie Boys & Santigold
Beastie Boys & Santigold are two of my number one feelings, here they are together. RIP MCA. Rapper, feminist, vegan, activist, amazing bassist, film maker, brilliant human being.
10. ‘Bones’ – Mwen
Oh Mwen! Her set at Riot Grrill was getoutoftownRADICAL! I love her. Had this tune stuck in my head forever.
So I hope you will come to a Riot Grrill some time no? We’re doing a Unity Day fundraiser on Saturday 9th June, come along and tell me you can’t believe I didn’t put ‘Buffalo Stance’ on the playlist. (Aaargh neither can I, what was I thinking of??)