Tougher than wolves
Growling back: Sing along, guys: “If you’re not sure if it’s rape, just don’t do it.”
That’s actually the chorus of Bay area folk singer Rachel Lark’s snarky tune about sexual consent, “For the Guys.” It was one of three songs that Lark performed Saturday night at the Colonial Theatre, armed with a sprightly mandolin, her soaring soul-meets-pop-punk voice and a sprinkling of raunchy one-liners.
No doubt, Lark’s set had a cheeky sense of humor, but that song also has a serious back story. A few years ago, she was part of an art collective that included a wolf in its midst. One guy had allegedly sexually assaulted eight members in the group. Seeking justice, they had an intervention.
“It was simultaneously the most inspiring and demoralizing experience of my life,” Lark told the audience. “Both to see so many people come together, and then to see the comments, including one guy who said, ’You know, sometimes women just need to be clearer. Sometimes, it’s really hard to tell what’s going on.”
Saturday night wasn’t exactly an intervention, but Louder Than Wolves: Taking a Stand Against Rape Culture tackled the same demoralizing topic through live music, short films, slam poetry and—most of all—dance; interpretive, aerial, contortionist, belly, burlesque and fire. One hundred percent of the proceeds were given to WEAVE, a domestic violence and rape crisis center.
Throughout the 20 performances, we experienced so many jarring moments: Stephanie Haber fearlessly twisted 20 feet above the stage on silk ropes. Audrey Von Price miraculously tickled her forearms with a lit torch. Burlesque dancer and actor Mone’t Ha-Sidi cried out as she tore off her purple wig and corset. Memorably, co-host Jamie Dewolf’s slam poetry recounted his anguish as a male sexual assault survivor.
Kudos to the show’s producer, Tim Meunier, for packing three variety hours. At one point, Dewolf fielded the 250-plus crowd on whether Louder Than Wolves should become an annual thing, which elicited cheers. There is a wolf in the White House, after all, and we could all use an intervention in a year.
Scream along: Marcus Leonardo had been hosting a small event called “Sad as F_ck” at Bottle & Barlow for about a year when he decided to put a spin on it. This year, Leonardo and his friend Sean Hills, a booker at the Press Club, brought the concept to that larger venue and stripped the name down to its core: Emo Night Sacramento.
Leonardo describes emo in its simplest form as “punk music with emotion.” The genre budded in the ’80s, then boomed in the early 2000s, when bands like Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World and My Chemical Romance lodged the genre firmly onto Hot Topic racks across the country. The effects have clearly lingered in Sacramento.
“We posted the event on Facebook just two weeks ago,” Leonardo told me from the DJ booth. “It just started getting traction on social media.” Hundreds RSVP’d on Facebook.
The Press Club was jam packed from the start last Wednesday, and the whole place often exploded into a massive sing-scream-along, replete with hugging, swaying and glass-raising. Far beyond your average Wednesday night out, the energy was positive and brimming with nostalgia.
Although Leonardo is the first to introduce an emo night to Sacramento, he’s tapping into something that has swept the country. A quick Facebook search yields Emo Nights in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Portland and Tampa. Emo Nite LA has even taken its branded event on a national tour.
Emo is unique in that it can feel nostalgic without necessarily feeling too dated, unlike ’90s rock. The genre also benefits from its range, in which Dashboard’s acoustic songs blast alongside Thursday’s heavy howls. The thread that binds the two has less to do with sound than it does attitude and approach, and you could feel it in the air at the Press Club.
Going forward, Emo Night runs 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month.
Silver anniversary: The 25th annual Sammies, SN&R’s celebration of local musicians, is live at http//:sammies .com and ready for your nominations of the best artists, starting today. Vote while you can!