These things and more were learned at the Third Annual Rock and Roll Camp for Girls Camper Showcase last Saturday at the Aladdin Theater, where a host of rocking young ladies, aged eight to 18, played with the bands they'd formed at camp. Well--all were bands but one; DJ Vertically Challenged demonstrated her prowess on decks by mixing Golden Boy and Miss Kitten's "Rippin Kitten" into the DFA remix of Le Tigre's "Deceptacon"; conscientious, energetic selections to kickstart the audience of fans and parents.
Largely, though, punk rock was in order, from The Better Eddie Haskell's cover of Toni Basil's "Mickey," to The Abyss' guitar player, whose pink-and-purple-themed outfit resembled something Poly Styrene might have thrown together in a more exuberant moment (no word on whether The Abyss lady was sporting braces). Th'Antititles, outfitted in swathes of black lace and tulle, sang a track, "Party Nights," about "partying all day and all night." Even a staged slow-mo fight between the two singers didn't phase their drummer, whose aloof gum chewing corresponded in half-beats to the cool rhythm she kept.
A few bands diverged from chords and covers. A duo calling itself the Musical Chairs pounded out beats on folding chairs with drumsticks, LA street-style, complete with accompanying back-up dancers. Purple Pixie Dust, too, opted for a drum jam, with two guitar chords overlaying a primal beat spread by dual floor toms. Snow Leopards, one of the youngest bands, was also one of the most surprising; consisting of two guitars, keyboards, and a drummer, they picked out a miasma of noise akin to Sonic Youth's first tape, but with better respect for brevity. Beware!, a five-piece with the warning, "Beware! Of Beware!" sharpied on their matching jeans, played a wrenching ballad. Just after their keyboardist finished an avant piano solo, she leapt from behind the synth to demonstrate a proper b-girl finale--a downrock into a back walkover.
And why shouldn't she? If there's one thing to be learned from the bands formed at the Rock Camp for Girls, it's what really counts in life is a winning combination of chutzpah and ingenuity. From The Allie-Cats, Pixie Stix, Black Peppercorns, Purple Haze, Guilty Pleasures, Drawing a Blank, Ode to Go-Kart, Mafia and The Thick Hips--to La Chicana, Pretty Poison, Maeve, Pink Panthers, Cherry Star, The Freckles and the Demonesses--every lady onstage performed in refreshing measures of vigor and confidence. It was an inspiring, hopeful evening; as the camp roll-call cheer goes, "Hey campers, are you in the room? The future depends on you!" If these are the ladies upon whom we're dependent, the future of Portland music is very, very exciting.