November 14, 1997 in Seven

Female Acts At The Forefront, With A Man Or Two Thrown In

By The Spokesman-Review
 

All women. All the time.

Here’s the Nightwatch episode that reminds you that women rock, too. They also sing the blues. And play some pop.

Just check below. We’ve got all kinds of musical mayhem from the better … er … I mean, the fairer, sex.

Oh yeah. I lied. I did throw some men into this week’s list as well. Wouldn’t want to be sexist now, would I?

Different Point of Blue

“I like to move away from my-man-did-me-wrong-and-I-kicked-him-out-the-door to something that’s a little more relatable,” says Ellen Whyte, frontwoman for the Portland band Reflex Blue.

“I’m trying to get a more day-to-day kind of message across to people. It’s enlightened blues. That’s kind of an oxymoron, but its true.”

From jazzily upbeat songs like “See In You” to the retro rock of “Ch’ Got It” and the tasty blues shuffle of “I Need You,” it seems Whyte and Reflex Blue have accomplished their goal.

Their debut album, “Different Point of Blue,” was just named Album of the Year by the Cascade Blues Association. The association also nominated Whyte for Best Female Vocalist.

Whyte, who sings and plays guitar, is backed up by a four-man band that finds Garry Meziere on lead guitar, Sonny Boyardee on bass, Jim Williams on sax and Bill Cox temporarily stepping in on drums.

Whyte has performed most of her life, starting in an accordion band when she was 6 years old. She joined Reflex Blue in 1995.

“I’ve been doing this all of my life. It’s great because it feels like this is what I was born to do.”

Whyte and Reflex Blue play at the Fort Spokane Brewery tonight and Saturday. Shows start at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $6.

Not THAT girl band

The Spice Girls. What can I possibly say that would be printable?

Just don’t compare that girl group to the one coming to Outback Jack’s Tuesday.

Sure, Baby Alive - a fivesome from Los Angeles - may play pop music. But they do, after all, play their own instruments and write their own songs. Their tunes also manage - for the most part - to be catchy without being insipid.

Can’t exactly say the same for their British bimbo counterparts. (I’m being charitable here.)

Thanks to the aforementioned bim … women … and the decidedly masculine nature of the music business, convincing people to take you seriously isn’t always easy for all-women bands.

“You get that ‘It’s a novelty act’ thing. Then at the same time you’ve got something like the Spice Girls who come out and are not taken remotely seriously,” says singer guitarist Elizabeth Mehr. “It’s kind of a bad position to be in. It’s never like they accept you for how you are or who you are.”

On that note, along with Mehr, Baby Alive is Stacey Bowers on keyboards, Wendy Levin on guitar, Priscilla Bara on bass and Donna Meichtry on drums.

Spice tirades aside, it was years ago that a television show planted the poppy seed that would later hatch Baby Alive. “When I was really young my older brothers and sister were into the Monkees and I just thought it was so cool,” Mehr says. “So I used to put together little girl bands on my block and we used to pretend we were the Monkees.”

Three years ago Mehr decided to create an adult version of her childhood game. Of course, this time the music is a good bit edgier than, say, the stuff played by Mehr’s childhood heroes. However, Baby Alive’s sound remains, at its core, high-energy pop.

Their debut album “What Is It” finds Mehr’s girlish voice wrapped around rock songs kissed with hints of Elastica and (they hate this comparison, too) the Bangles.

Amid the swirling radio-friendly melodies of songs like “Why Don’t U Luv Me?” you’ll find chunky guitars riffs on pieces like the title track. Certainly this baby could use some maturing (read here the song “She’s Badd” - with two Ds, no less.)

“The main focus of the album is that we start as babies and we’re here to learn and grow and keep searching for who we are,” Mehr says.

Baby Alive plays Outback Jack’s Tuesday. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $3.

Rock, punk, funk, etc., etc.

Goodness, the great Seattle band fronted by Carrie Akre (formerly of Hammerbox), headlines at Outback Jack’s tonight.

Akre leads this rock quintet with a voice that can be both roundhouse potent and tastefully tempered.

Goodness arrives tonight with a new five-song EP just released on their own label, Good Ink. Records. Greg opens the show followed by the Seattle band Stereo Flyers. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $5.

When Spokane band Shrinking Violet played its coming-out show at Ichabod’s North two weeks ago it immediately jumped to the top rung of local bands. Made up of former members of High Lonesome, this rock band dishes out hook-sweet melodies with a bite. And lead singer Gina Beauvais (formerly Lancashire) has one of the coolest female voices around (think Sinead O’Connor when she still had that gritty edge.)

Being a new band they have a few things to work out. Still, these guys are well worth seeing. If you missed Shrinking Violet’s first show, head to Ichabod’s North tonight. The band plays the middle slot with Sugar Pig headlining and and Unit opening. Cover is $4. Show starts at 9:30 p.m.

One of the Northwest’s best funk outfits drops by Spokane Thursday for a show at the Fort Spokane Brewery. Rubberneck, a six-man band from Portland, tosses funk, jazz, rock and Latin nuggets into its mix and then turns out an infectiously elastic groove. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $4.

Fast and tight: That’s L.A.’s B-Movie Rats slapping you upside the head with their garage punk and roll with scraps of rockabilly twang tossed in. The B-Movie Rats (four guys) infest Ichabod’s North Thursday with Slim Pickens and Schyster. Cover is $4.

Catch The Doo-Wah Riders Saturday at Chili-D’s. This California country band has appeared in concert with Garth Brooks and George Strait and even showed up in the movie “Basic Instict.” Show starts at 8 p.m. Cover is $10 at the door.

Rock for all ages

Local bands Tribal Essence and Morning Breath join two California bands tonight for a free all-ages show at the Westminster Church.

From down south come Asteroid and Bobby Jo Ebala and the Children Macnuggits (don’t even ask about the name because I just don’t know).

Although the show is in a church (located at 411 S. Washington) these guys still rock hard and heavy. Be there at 7 p.m. Organizers are asking for canned food for the food bank.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

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