Objectivity Disclaimer**** This particular blog post is not one of my usual objective pieces. I am a crazy super fan of this band. Do not talk to me during the show.
Sunday September 29, 2013
Motorco Music Hall
All female rock band…that’s how Antigone Rising has been introduced for years. Hailing from New York and Jersey, these women endured jeers from snarky music store clerks asking if they were looking for a gift for their boyfriend. The response was an impromptu in-store jam that rocked those young men’s faces off.
AR’s rise from the garages and clubs of NYC skyrocketed in 2005, when they became the first band promoted by Starbuck’s Hear Music / Lava Record Label. Founded by sisters, Kristen Henderson (bass/vocals) and Cathy Henderson (lead guitar/vocals), other band members flowed in and out but now have settled with this current roster that includes Dena Tauriello (drums) and Nini Camps (lead vocals/rhythm guitar).
They have opened for the Rolling Stones, Joan Jett, the Bangles and rocked side by side with Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Their 14 minute Storybook Romance jam with the Allman Brothers has been in my permanent rotation since I discovered them.
Antigone Rising is known for their fans as they are their music. Before the rise and fall of MySpace, AR and their fans leveraged social media before they knew it had a name. The infamous Antigone Rising forum, the Sandbox, moderated by the mysterious and temperamental Manbunnies featured posts of their songs, artists the band members listened to, fans music, tabs, and instrument and gear discussions. Before Kickstarter kicked started artistic projects, AR’s fans financed the purchase of the band’s replacement tour van, Vanna (White). These fans also helped manage and moderate the first website, promoted shows, and advised the band, as well.
Following a crazy rise to stardom, nationwide tours, TV appearances, the band announced a “time out”. During their 2008 touring hiatus, Kristen wrote and published Times Two, a memoir about the simultaneous pregnancies between Kristen and her partner. The band continued to reach out to their fans through You Tube with Monkees styled shenanigans. They answered fan emails on the air or posted a quick message to share a secret about a new project before formal release. Before it became a “thing”; they offered online guitar lessons. Antigone Rising found a way to adapt to the changing music landscape, technology, and demands on their personal and professional lives.
My introduction to them came in 2005. I received a CD from one of my high school BFFs with a Post-it note that read, “Trust me.” I was intrigued to read that this was a Starbuck’s product. My first thought was, “What does Starbuck’s know about music?” I didn’t listen to white female musicians much. My musical tastes at the time leaned more toward male artists such as Mark Knopfler, Doc Watson, Guy Clark, and Alejandro Escovedo to name a few. The only females in my collection at the time were black soul, RB and jazz singers plus Melissa Etheridge (because she kicks total ass).
I was immediately impressed with the simple but tight arrangements and harmonies. I don’t mean simple as in elementary or novice but in the way that allowed me to listen to the songs without the distractions of testosterone rock riffs that drown out the message. I heard it loud and clear.
Although this particular project was an acoustic CD, these chicks rocked. I was hooked. I spent the day and all night online researching about them. I joined their popular “Sandbox” fan forum, as Imperfect, to communicate with their cultish fans. Next day, the day after Christmas, while everyone was returning unwanted Christmas gifts, I went to Sam Ash and bought an Ovation Celebrity to learn to play the songs that I had collected online.
I never played guitar before. I didn’t care. These ladies, their community of co-musicians and fans invited me into their camp, encouraged me to learn a few easy chords, write and sing. I still do.
Their songs contain offerings of rock and roll, pop, country-ish, and folk. Their current record 23 Red, another fan financed endeavor, features the team songwriting of Kristen and Nini and the band’s signature melodious harmonies.
For fans of: Joan Jett, Allman Brothers, The Wailing Jennys, The Bangles, Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin