Girlschool Live in Hollywood

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Tuesday, February 1, 2005 @ 12:59 AM

Girlschool Live at the Knittin

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REVIEW BY: Frank Skalsky, III (Edited from a blog by DJ Will)

I don't know WHOSE brainchild designing the Knitting Factory was, but they needed to be flogged in the worst way. It so was confusing trying to figure out where to find the main stage was, especially once you get inside. It’s like a maze made of concrete and steel. Well at any rate, after getting lost for a bit then finding the right location I met up with some friends of mine who were filming footage tonight for a Girlschool documentary and what better time to film that their first show in years here in the US.

I took some pics at the sound check, because there's NO way I was going to pay $100 for a freakin' photo pass, which the club was charging. What a rip-off!

We sat and watched the sound check, which took a long, long time. The band played on loaner equipment from one of the other opening acts. During the sound check, drummer Denise Dufort finally got behind the kit and started POUNDING away! You look at her and you wouldn't think she could play the kit that way... but DAMN what a real solid player.

Somebody yelled a comment about her playing so hard and she said, "Well, what's the point of playing them if you don't hit them?!?"

Girlschool’s sound check consisted of "Come On Up," "Demolition" and half of "Innocence" (the song couldn't be played because the guy who sold Jackie the guitar for this gig forgot to give her the whammy bar!) The sound was okay, not great and lots of little feedback noises in the guitars. Simon Wright (former AC/DC drummer) showed up and hung out, then later on Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, original drummer for Motorhead, came down with a guitar he brought for Kim to play.***

He looked EXACTLY the same over the years, only his "I-stuck-my-finger-in-a-light-socket" hair was a LOT grayer.

(***Footnote: Some unknown individual swiped Phil’s Gibson SG after the show in the backstage dressing room as we were all leaving the club and to this day no one has been able to track it down even with my reward offer. Opportunistic scumbag out there!)

As I headed backstage, there was more random chaos before showtime. Girlschool were sharing this small dressing room, which was the size of my bedroom, no less with the band Stay At Home Bomb. Everyone kinda crowded in and as claustrophobic as it was, it added to my anxiety from being around legends that I didn't know! I was introduced to a guy named Freddie, who is a long-time friend of the band's and he also loaned some of his gear*** to the band. (***He got off light… someone only lifted his leather jacket.) When I heard the "music" from Stay At Home Bomb, I was NOT impressed. Sloppy pseudo-punk with such a stupid gimmick... the band members all dressed up in aprons and looking like housewives, with a laundry line to serve as a "backdrop." During one song they even played a washboard of all things, which made me think immediately of Jim Dandy from Black Oak Arkansas minus the talent!

Soon it was almost time for Girlschool to take the stage. I went out to the stage and there were quite a number of people up front already. I'm not big at trying to push my way through crowds. Plus I was about two persons back from the front of stage right (my left) anyway. Now, I'm not sure who the hell let the dumb high school kids out, but there was this blonde, short-haired guy that was spitting at this rather stoned, boyish-looking guy up front. I mean spitting into this other kid's face not once, but three times. Then these two short, big girls got pissed, and one was screaming at the blonde guy. Then three other guys that were pissed at this kid's behavior were threatening to kick his ass, and this dumbass was dumb enough to beg for them to do something... and I'm stuck right in the middle -- all this before the band was just about to start! However, when the lights dimmed the section in front of me were getting a bit pushy, so I just went around from one side of the stage to the other, snapping what I was hoping to be some great pics.

The set list:

C'mon Lets Go
Mad Sister
Hit ‘N Run
New Beginning
Not For Sale
Live With Me
Come On Up
Rock ‘N Roll
Screaming Blue Murder
Future Flash
Coming Your Way
Never Say Never
Race With The Devil

After "Emergency," the band walked off but the crowd was begging for more and for original guitarist Kelly Johnson, who was in attendance. The band debated on what to play next, and they decided on "Take It All Away" and "Tush" rather than "Innocent" (because of that "no whammy bar" problem). They started up, and Freddie went looking for Kelly, who was side stage with us for a while but then disappeared. He found Kelly, and BEGGED her to go up with the band, as did Jackie. Kim mentioned Kelly's name, and the fans started screaming and she FINALLY relented eventually and got up during the breakdown in "Take It All Away." First she just said "hi" and tried to walk off, but Jackie and Freddie wouldn't let her. So first they had the crowd sing the chorus for a spell, and then Kim walked over to Kelly and gave her a guitar. It was AMAZING. I went around getting pictures then soon the song ended, and it was all over. The crowd seemed to really enjoy it, and there were a LOT of kids that looked too damn young to have even HEARD of Girlschool back in the day, especially the rowdy ones in front. Either that or they were fans of the opening acts and decided to stick around. Whatever the case was, I know I was on CLOUD 9!

The ladies of Girlschool are the most down-to-earth group of women you could ever meet. They may be legends, but they are in it for the love of music and to have fun. I just hope it won't be another 11 years before they come back to the States!

(Photos by DJ Will)

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