"Girls to the front!” Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill would shout at shows during the early 1990s Riot Grrl feminist punk movement. That’s the energy you can expect when The Venomous Pinks and The Darts join forces for the first time at the upcoming Rock Like A Grrl show in a high-energy, dual headliner at Last Exit Live on Saturday, May 6.
By now, we all know women rocking is not an equation that needs to be proved. Rather, this grrl show is designed to celebrate two ferocious all-women bands with ties to the Valley.
It’s the brain child of promoter Fun Bobby and Darts frontwoman Nicole Laurenne. “If I’m sticking out my scrawny neck, I better fucking dig it,” Fun Bobby says of putting the show together. “It’s got to be exciting, not just some mopey hipsters staring at their shoes.”
Duly noted. Part of the excitement is seeing these all these badass women on the same bill. On doubling up, Venomous Pinks drummer Jukie says, “We’re pretty stoked!”
Expect a purposefully rough around the edges, sweaty, punk rock, garage-psych-rock grrl mashup that delivers explosive rock ’n’roll by seasoned musicians. The first time Fun Bobby saw The Darts, they blew him away. He recalls thinking, “I need to do a show with them before they get too big.”
Indeed, Rock Like a Grrl will be The Darts’ last local show before heading to Europe for a summer tour.
Formed in 2016, the Phoenix and Los Angeles-based band brings together Laurenne (The Love Me Nots, Zero Zero, Motobunny), drummer Rikki Styxx (The Dollyrots), bassist Christina Nunez (The Love Me Nots, The Madcaps, Casual Encounters), and guitarist Michelle Balderrama (Brainspoon). They're gearing up for tour dates in the Midwest and on the East Coast later in the summer, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Touring is what we love,” Laurenne says. “When we started the band our goals were: Have a great time, and see as much of the world as we can.”
She adds, “The doors open a lot faster here. In other places, without solid connections, it’s hard. In Phoenix, a new band can get off the ground really fast.” The Darts have two EPs out on U.K. label Dirty Water Records.
The bill’s other headlining half is The Venomous Pinks, a Phoenix band with Drea Doll on guitar/vocals, Gaby Kaos on guitar/bass/vocals, Corrie Zazzera on guitar, and Jukie on drums. They’ve also got some big things in the works, including prepping for Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend. “This will be our sixth year attending the festival,” Jukie says. “A couple of years ago we played a club show, but now, all of a sudden, we’re part of it. We’re even on the flier.” They take the festival stage on May 28, the same day as Bad Religion.
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“We’ve come to a point where what you see is what you get,” Jukie says. “We’re not trying to hide behind flashy costumes or makeup, our message is just be yourself. Don’t let other people bring you down.” The quartet released their latest EP, We Do It Better, in March with SquidHat Records, and they have plans to work on an LP over the summer.
Rounding out Rock Like a Grrl will be Tucson’s unapologetically loud and raunchy Sugar Stains, and the up-and-coming Cheap Hotels, with their retro, lo-fi, summertime feels.
To have such a varied lineup is one of the major advantages of being a band based in the Valley. “You can attend a show with all different bands on the bill,” Jukie says. “There’s tons of support. And then, location. It’s a hop and a jump to San Diego, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.”
Rock Like A Grrl is Saturday, May 6, at Last Exit Live.