& Tues Mar 11
On its own, the music of Dominatrix is remarkable. Consisting of sisters Elisa and Isabella Gargiulo (guitar and bass, respectively), Flavia Dos Santos (guitar), and Deborah Biana (drums), the quartet reaps a seamless, melody-heavy, hardcore punk rock, bubbling with molten energy and intensity. Elisa and Isabella's yearning, hollered vocal harmonies are fresh and pure, peeling apart with passion, and provide a pretty backdrop to their speedy, airtight guitars. Dominatrix is great on CD, but watch them live, and see if your heart doesn't explode with inspiration and excitement.
Dominatrix also has a remarkable background. Formed in 1995 in their home of Sao Paolo, Brazil, and named after a lyric from a Bratmobile song, the quartet was Brazil's first all-lady, feminist band--but they didn't realize it until they played their first show. "We played with a straightedge band called No Violence, and a punk rock band called No Class," says Elisa. "Since our family is really conservative, we couldn't really go out, so we had no contact with the scene until our first show, when we were 15." After they released their first record in 1997, titled Girl Gathering, Brazil's young feminist art scene exploded, much as it did with riot grrl in the U.S. Isabella explains, "There were so many bands, collectives, zines, painters it was really amazing. I don't know if it was because of us, but I think the sexism was such, and the girls were so fed up that finally, when a feminist band appeared, they were like, YAH!"
Currently, Dominatrix is touring on Self-Delight, on Elisa's own record label, Chlorine, which has just gained distribution in the U.S. courtesy of Portland's 16 Records. We are lucky for the opportunity to see this band. They're here because Portland's own punk duo, The Haggard, met the band at Ladyfest Amsterdam, and loved them so much they paid for their plane tickets so they could tour America. Kiss The Haggard for that, next time you see them--and absolutely do not miss Dominatrix.