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Lesbian musicians kick off Pride Month
by Vern Hester
2015-06-17

This article shared 3570 times since Wed Jun 17, 2015
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Gay Pride Month 2015 kicked off with a flood of lesbian artists who played here on consecutive nights while offering fans a wide variety of styles.

The parade started June 4, when Canadian LGBTQ ally Jenn Grant opened for Chris Delmhorst at Evanston's SPACE to showcase her latest album, Compostela. Grant, who recently headlined a benefit show for LGBTQ activist Raymond Tavaal on April 29 in Halifax, performed newer songs "No One's Gonna Love You ( Quite Like I Do )," "Trailer Park" and "Barcelona" to an engaged audience.

On June 5, out singer/guitarist/composer Melissa Ferrick played a solo show in the same venue in front of an enthusiastic, sold-out house. As is her unique style, Ferrick cracked jokes and told saucy stories ( including humorous asides about meeting and re-meeting Rosie O'Donnell in embarrassing circumstances, and finding herself at an intimate house party with "the most powerful lesbians on the planet"—Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, Ellen DeGeneres and O'Donnell ) while stunning the still-laughing audience with a selection of some of her most intimate music while performing with a bracing fury. Her set included older chestnuts ( "E-mails," "Somehow We Get There" ) and new material from her upcoming self-titled CD ( "Scenic View," "Relief" ).

After the show, Ferrick came out to sign autographs and mingle with her fans ( some of whom were barely legal and had never had the chance to see her perform in person ). She also mentioned that the physical edition of her new CD will be released in the fall and that she will be returning here in support with a show at Chicago City Winery Oct. 4.

Next up was out performer Mary Lambert, who opened for Brit rockers The Script at The Riviera June 6. Lambert followed first opener Colton Avery's well-received set by not only engaging the restless crowd with a lilting version of her "She Keeps Me Warm" ( which had the house singing along ) but also with her blunt charm ( "I cuss a lot...and I am gay." ). Accompanied on guitar by her friend, who she introduced only as "Tim," Lambert made a point of not apologizing for anything while launching into a giggly fit that, like Ferrick's spontaneous humor, won over this largely white straight middle-class crowd.

Lambert spoke at length about "losing it" at the dress rehearsal for the Grammys in 2014 for the song "Same Love" when she saw the multitude of same-sex couples in attendance ready to take their vows. ( Lambert sang and co-wrote the song with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. ) The punch line of her story came when a leather-and-lace-attired Madonna appeared out of thin air to comfort her. As the icon gently swept her tears away, Lambert swore that she had been touched by the hand of God.

Her reading of "When You Sleep" was so powerful that it forced this crowd to listen quietly and absorb it, but the recitation of her poem "Body Love" ( which addresses female body image, self acceptance, self respect, self-worth and loving oneself completely ) was met with a thunderous response. Lambert's closer, "Secrets," took the message of "Body Love" to an entirely new plateau, as the song humorously acknowledged the difficulties that Lambert has dealt with in her young life ( her dysfunctional family; being diagnosed as bipolar; and accepting and loving her body and her sexuality despite a conservative-right Christian upbringing ). "Secrets" was presented here with so much bounce and energy that Lambert left the audience screaming for more.

On June 8, Chicago LGBTQ allies Split Feet, fronted by out vocalist/guitarist Jess Skolnik, ripped through a thunderous set of guitar-driven hard rock while serving up generous portions of the band's soon-to-be-released new cassette at The Empty Bottle. Older songs like "Bernice" and "Gentian" found themselves sandwiched between the new songs, which included "You're A Ghost," "Best Buddy," "Double Blind" and "Shame Parade." Split Feet will be playing The Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., with queer-friendly rockers Fake Limbs on June 27.


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