Gina Birch/Pifco/The False Peak – Brudenell, Leeds 27/03/2023

The supports tonight are local bands The False Peak and Pifco, the latter supplying a lot of fun and energy mainly from the drummer Anna Reed, as they dove through a set of indie rock, throwing in a cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”. Kind of reminded me of Bad News, but in a good way. The 2 piece outfit Pifco were a revelation. A distillation of  No Wave, crackling with tension and atonal grooves, howling and hollering with intent, the songs exploding out of steel traps like missives from a war zone, delivered like their lives depended on it, and in between songs, barely a whispered murmur from singer Steve, while drummer Mary impatiently kicks into the next song like there’s no time left and this is important so let’s just get on with it shall we. I don’t doubt it. Brilliant

Gina Birch and her two warrior women Jenny Green and Marie Marlei (dubbed The Unreasonables), backing her up with beats and sounds and twangs, part Pussy Riot, and riot of colour, put on a show leaning heavily on her latest album, songs expressing her feminist ideals and grappling with what it is to be a woman. Songs like “Feminist Song” and “I Am Rage” where she is a ‘bubbling burning cauldron’ of the stuff. The possible seriousness of the lyrics is always delivered with a wonderful sense of the absurd, and celebration is more the order of the day, as if to say we can talk about these issues but let’s never forget to have fun while we’re doing it.

After final song “I Play My Bass Loud”, in which all 3 women are fittingly playing the bass, the band come back on for a riotous rendition of  “Lola”, which The Raincoats turned into a lesbian anthem all those years ago, all delivered with so much fun, and tonight there’s no exception, as Gina pointed out that it was so nice to see so many young women out tonight, and its partly down to her that so many did.

Gina Birch is a legend, and I don’t use that phrase lightly. We need more like her in our lives because we would be more enriched and happier for it. Bassist and singer with the wonderful Raincoats, whose clever, dub inspired grooves soundtracked my journey from boy to (wo)man, and finally releasing her first solo album after all this time, we find more of the same infectious dub inspired grooves from the woman who claims to be ‘a city girl…a warrior’, and who can certainly play her bass loud.

She stands up on stage flanked by her gang and turns the whole of the Brudenell, which tonight is a living example of inclusive humanity, into a dancing swirl of happiness and love.

Andrew Wood

Photographs by Ali Blair / /

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