It’s a well known fact that the male dominance of the music industry attempts to keep the voices of women quiet. In the song “The Opener,” artist Georgia Maq of Camp Cope imitates this patriarchy with her lyrics “just get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota.” During their June 24th performance at the Beat Kitchen, Maq followed those lyrics by screaming “we’ve got a whole tour of them!” with a smile on her face. With a stacked bill of Oceanator, Camp Cope, and Petal, this sold out show did not disappoint.
The concert was a celebration of the power of both female and queer voices as each artist shared personal stories and battles which created a space where both love and support flooded the entire venue.
Each lovely performer brought a different sound, yet all three sets meshed beautifully. An overall theme of equality for women peaked through each performance, specifically in light of the ever present sexism within the music industry. It was an incredibly empowering concert as each artist proved to be an ally for justice AND good music.
What a treat! I had never listened to Oceanator before, but that will definitely change after this performance. Based in Brooklyn, Oceanator is the musical project of Elise Okusami. Filled with emotional guitar picked melodies and almost-whispered vocals followed by quick, loud moments of passionate belting and intensity, this set blew us away. To say Okusami’s music is vulnerable is an understatement, since this performance was filled with so many layers and glimpses into her life. I’m a fan! You can check out Oceanator’s latest EP Lows, available now on all streaming sites.
Ah, Camp Cope. After two long years of dreaming to see these superstars in action, this show was everything I could’ve hoped for and so much more. The sheer teamwork these artists rely on is impressive enough, as these women stand in solidarity not only through their musicianship, but also their message.
The set began with “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams,” an anthem that ignited the crowd. No time was wasted as they rolled right into “How to Socialise and Make Friends,” the title track off their latest album. Their set included a nice blend of new and old songs, including “Done,” “Lost (Season One),” “UFO Lighter,” and “Keep Growing.” Camp Cope also surprised the audience with an exclusive performance of “Sagan-Indiana,” a song only played two times prior in front of an audience.
Camp Cope’s set was also a call to action. Through the songs “The Face of God” and “The Opener,” the audience was asked to reflect upon how each one of us individually can incite necessary change within our communities. With such strong messages of coping with abuse, Camp Cope’s performance was an inviting space which allowed for marginalized groups to feel support.
Each one of these women is an ABSOLUTE force to be reckoned with. Drummer Sarah Thompson led the band with confidence and composure as she guided us steadily through the set. I watched in awe as bassist Kelly-Dawn Kelso effortlessly blew my mind with her technique. And lastly, the goddess Georgia Maq, whose presence quite honestly just left me speechless.
I’ve always felt intensely connected to the music and message of Camp Cope. I fell in love with Camp Cope’s dedication to speaking out towards inequalities as well as Maq’s poetic and heart wrenching lyricism years ago. After last night’s performance, though, I was able to witness Georgia’s infectious passion in person. With every belted lyric and occasional eye roll, I fell even more deeply in love with this band, how their success is a response to those that said they could never make it, and their commitment to making the world a better place.
Petal is the musical project of Kiley Lotz, a Scranton native and Chicago lover. Lotz walked onstage in an all-white getup, like the real-life angel she truly is. Their set began with “Nature,” an intense song with a massive build up, which really set a tone of excitement throughout the crowd for what was to come.
Lotz came out as bisexual in her mid-twenties. Magic Gone, Petal’s most recent album, is Lotz’s first musical release freely expressing her sexuality. Not long after their set started, Lotz mentioned sheepishly that she could finally begin writing music about her attraction to women because she had at last come out to her parents and no longer had to “sneak it in” to her songs. This personal admission was so sweet and completely relatable.
A recurring theme throughout the performances of all three bands was the undeniable power of women and the sexist treatment of women in the music industry. A few songs after Petal’s set began, Lotz says, “Here’s a song written by a woman,” and launches into an individual ballad. The rest of the band left the stage as Kiley hit the first few piano keys to “Silver Springs,” a song originally written by Stevie Nicks.
Kiley’s cover of “Silver Springs” has a special place in my heart. The intense amount of emotion she poured into the lyrics seeped through the venue, bringing tears to my eyes. It was a wonderful tribute to not only Stevie Nicks, but the societal struggles that women go through on a daily basis, specifically in the music industry.
The Chicago Pride Parade was mere hours before Petal’s performance and Kiley continuously waved her own rainbow flags in support of the LGBTQIA community. A feeling of acceptance and love blanketed Beat Kitchen as Petal began their last song, one from the 2015 album, Shame. “Heaven,” is a sweetly nostalgic song for those who have been listening to Petal for awhile now. The crowd sang along with Kiley as she provided yet another emotionally charged beautiful song performance.
To say the least, this concert was truly a magical experience. All three bands hung around after their sets and chatted with their fans. Olivia and I had the privilege of having conversations with Elise Okusami, Georgia Maq, and Kiley Lotz. It’s not very common to meet such down-to-Earth successful musicians, but these incredible women are all about lifting up and listening to those around them.