It was fitting that Tacocat’s 2019 tour marched through Philly when it did. Just last week, the governor of Alabama signed into law a near-total ban on abortion, which has the power to put doctors who perform such medical procedures behind bars for 99 years. In case you’re wondering, that’s a harsher punishment than some rapists receive in Alabama. The passing of the law will likely set up an eventual showdown between women’s rights advocates and the United States Supreme Court, and some believe that recently-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh has the potential to be a deciding vote on overturning Roe v Wade.
Reasons like these are why bands like feminst punk bands like Tacocat exist. Don’t let the whimsy palindromical name fool you; when it comes to women’s rights and sticking it to the man (literally and figuratively), Tacocat doesn’t mess around. Seattle’s favorite riot grrrl resurrectors did their part to help dismantle the patriarchy at South Philly’s Boot & Saddle Saturday night while touring their most recent release, This Mess is a Place. While the Alabama law, to my surprise, didn’t specifically come up in discussion by the band at all during the night, the rage was implicit in the music. When a band writes songs with titles such as “Men Explain Things to Me,” “Hey Girl,” and “Crimson Wave,” the music sort of does the talking for you.
Political issues aside, This Mess Is a Place is Tacocat’s latest proof of their uncanny ability to write a catchy melody. Several tracks were played from the new album, including “New World,” “The Joke of Life” and “Crystal Ball,” and at no point did the audience feel a collective bathroom break was necessary. But old favorites were performed too, including the X-Files themed “Dana Katherine Scully,” as well as “The Internet,” which touches on the frustration of dealing with social media trolls. The band’s simplistic glam-punk energy provided a platform for singer Emily Nokes to showcase her seriously underrated, retro-sounding croon that she doesn’t get enough credit for. She’s quite the show-woman as well; throughout the night Nokes characteristically danced around the stage with the aid of her tambourine, which served as both a useful musical instrument and a looking-glass prop.
Speaking of trolls, at one point toward the end of the show, some dude in the back of the room yelled something about wanting the band to stop talking and just play the music. After an eye roll and a “fuck you” from Nokes, the fun feminist punks continued on without mention until the very end of the show. After rounding out the set list with “I Hate the Weekend,” the band was convinced to stay for one more song by the audience’s resounding applause. It was decided that they’d finish with “Hey Girl,” a song about the annoying reality of being cat-called by creepy men. Appropriately, bassist Bree McKenna dedicated the song “to that stupid fucking dude who yelled at us earlier” because that’s what you get if you flaunt your sexism around Tacocat. Perhaps she should have dedicated the song to the Alabama State Legislature.
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