Women for a Cause Benefit, August 7, ’04, El Guapo Restaurant, Hollywood, CA

Benefit for Women for a Cause

with Stacy Golden | Denise Vasquez | Mara | Deborah Bishop | Carrie Wade | Angela Ueber | Kelda | Lora Cain | Marina V | Dawn Grabowski | Charlie White | Anzu | Debbie Hennessy | Amanda Turner Manning | Colleen Grace | Tacky Jacky

FemMuse.com – A Female Musicians Network – THE BEST IN FEMALE INDIE ARTISTS

We cover the best in Women’s Indie Music

written and photographed by: Female Guitarist The Shredmistress

Denise Vasqez, creator/producer and host of six consecutive successful LADIES NIGHT MUSIC FESTIVALS in the USVI, was bringing together the BEST FEMALE PERFORMERS for a cause…this time in LA!

Singer/Songwriter Denise Vasquez was the instrumental force in putting this event together, called "Women for a Cause". It was designed to benefit women with cancer and the proceeds were going to The Red Cross, Green Peace, and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. She’s put events on before as mentioned above, so this was well-run, entertaining and the performers across the board were well chosen. Mostly acoustic singer/songwriters with small back up bands and a few comediennes.

First of all, her choice of venue couldn’t have been better. Not a regular club but a large Mexican restaurant "The El Guapo Cantina", right on the Melrose Strip in Hollywood with a spacious courtyard. Huge Umbrellas shaded the patrons from the heat and the whole atmosphere was fun and sunny. There is NOTHING like live music..outdoors.. especially in a comfy setting like this. The far alcove became a makeshift stage with a small P.A. just enough to fill the space. The ever so helpful Charlene White ran the sound most of the time and managed to keep it pretty much under control. Except for a short time when massive feedback interrupted one of the performers, it went rather smoothly. I would suggest for future small events to NOT put the speakers BEHIND the microphones, but move them upfront. It’s easier to control feedback plus the audience hears the vocals better.

The event started at 2 PM on a Saturday afternoon and lasted well into the night. We got there around 5pm so we didn’t see the opening rounds of performers. Our first duty as always, was to order food and drinks.. reviewing is strenuous and one has to be in top form (grin). Mexican beer and a plate of Fajitas did the job.. we were ready!

Upon arrival MARA (marasong.com) was already well into her set but the remaining 2 songs this reviewer caught were super! She’s a powerhouse singer with an aggressive guitar style and body language. By herself this time, belting out the tunes and making everyone attending feel good.

Denise V. was a most gracious hostess, interacting with performers and audience, being her charming and beautiful self. She’s gone thru a medical condition recently and part of her motivation for putting this event on was to thank the Red Cross and people who donate blood, because as she put it: "it had saved my life recently"!

STACY GOLDEN took the stage with her guitarist Shin Kawasaki and husband/bass player extraordinaire Chris Golden. They played a few sultry and sweltering songs off the new CD "Thin Wire Walk", accentuated by Stacy’s wonderful and warm voice plus Chris’ fab bass playing. There isn’t a bass player better who knows how to transform a song from nice to great as this guy can. They posed for a cute pix together (as seen here). I’ve seen Stacy and Chris perform together as a duo, just voice and bass… and lemma tell ya.. you wouldn’t miss a guitar in that set up. Shin K. however does a nice job playing guitar with them and fills it out well.

DEBORAH BISHOP followed with a set of her country/jazzy soulful songs. She’s got a great voice.. high and clear.. and she’s doing the country thang really well. The songwriting is excellent. Catchy, infectious…the kind of songs you swear you’ve heard on the radio before.. but you probably haven’t… she’s got that formula down. Backed up by guitarist/singer George Leger III who also co-writes with Deborah and Ken Moore on bass, this little combo did a nice job under the blue skies. And thanks Deb for the nice compliments towards Female Guitarist The Shredmistress from the stage. You have good taste girl. Deborah Bishop is relocating to Nashville soon so it was good to hear her once again. Best of luck to her in Nashville.

I had never met or heard about ANGELA UEBER. She did a couple of acoustic numbers and what struck me right away was her unique voice. More rock-style than the average acoustic singer. The guitar playing was very nice and from what someone told me she’s a competent electric guitar player in her band as well. Great stage presence.. tall… assertive.. pretty.. she took command of her set and the audience.

Carrie Wade took the stage after that. This is another singer this reviewer had never met but evidently she and Denise go way back, having been together in the L.A. music scene for a while. She started off just fine at first.. in fact.. the 2 opening numbers were great. She’s got a sweet and mesmerizing sound to her voice, her guitar playing was cool and her messages profound. She transformed the place for a moment into a contemplative and magic environment. Then she decided to sit down, re-adjusted the mike and that prompted the little P.A. to go into a tail spin. Feedback..squeals… frantically Denise and female guitar shredder ‘The Shredmistress’ were coming to the rescue but couldn’t quite make it work out. Charlene White had left for a break so we were trying to get Carrie’s voice and guitar working and she struggled thru a few numbers with intermittent feedback. I could tell it had taken the wind out of her sails. Like the trooper she is though, she went with it and in the end was able to convey her message.

By now it was getting dark and the place was filling up. Throughout the day it was a constant coming and going of people. Some stopped by for a little while, others stayed for hours. But now it was hopping. PE an African American singer from New York and her guy guitarist were tearing it up. A mix of funk and rap she was great. Got the crowd moving with a dynamite set of lively songs. Nice vocal range and projection. Her vocals got lost just a bit because she exercised what’s known as "mike control" meaning stepping away from the mike when belting. However.. in this sort of set up that’s usually not the best thing. You gotta EAT THE MIKE girl… nevertheless, we were all attentive during her set and her talent came thru big time.

I had time for one more performer and that HAD to be..drumroll please… DENISE VASQUEZ. She said she was "exhausted" and I bet she was. This was a massive undertaking plus she was hosting, chatting and attending to the whole thing. She didn’t look it though. She ripped right thru a few numbers with her small back up combo and took no prisoners. I’ve reviewed her before and I don’t wanna repeat myself like a broken record but… she’s got the works. Songs, voice, looks, great attitude on stage.. you just GOTTA like her. People were totally into it. She’s well liked in the music community and I see why. Her voice soared into the now darkened sky, her body moved to the music, she smiled and made everyone feel welcome. Great great job and kudos to Denise for putting out such effort on all fronts!

I had to leave right after. Performers I didn’t get to see before or after were:
KELDA, LORA CAIN, MARINA V, DAWN GRABOWSKI, CHARLIE WHITE, ANZU, DEBBIE HENNESSY, AMANDA TURNER MANNING, COLLEEN GRACE, TACKY JACKY.

I know I missed a bunch of great stuff but it was a 10 hour event and from what I hear is that there wasn’t a weak link in the chain. I believe it because I’ve heard some of the remaining artists before.

I had a blast… it was great meeting lots of friends there, Judy Sandra and of course the adorable Grace Holmes and her mom Nancy. We chatted it up. Nice pix of Grace is included here, as she was having a great time and it shows!

Carry on Denise and I’m looking forward to the next bash, which, I’m sure, is in the works.

Read all our Show Reviews

FemMuse.com – A Cool Female Musicians and Artists Network | Los Angeles

HepC Benefit by Women Musician Organizations FemMuse and GoGirls

Women Musician Benefit for HepC, July 31, ’04 Universal Bar &Grill, Universal City, CA

with Madalyn Sklar | Kelly’s Lot | Kanary | Sean Wiggins | Susan Laurenzi

written and photographed by: Female Guitarist The Shredmistress

This is a series of events, hosted by Kelly Z. of Kelly’s Lot. She is the spokesperson for the Hepatitis C Awareness Program and has put on shows around the country for this very worthy and largely overlooked cause.

(excerpt taken from previous sources) "In 2004, a national coalition of musicians started to work together to raise awareness about hepatitis C. In 2000, after losing a close friend to the disease, Kelly Zirbes and her band Kelly’s Lot started raising awareness of the disease through events and concerts. Wanting to reach more people Kelly started HepCCoalition.com and put out a call to musicians across the country to help raise awareness on a national level. Each member of the coalition are distributing postcards with facts about hep c at their shows and events all over the USA. This was one of the shows to raise awareness and funds for the campaign with other concerts being planned for the future across the country. The proceeds for all events are going to The Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program to help fund the postcard campaign."

Madalyn Sklar of GogirlsMusic was there and digging the event. It’s always nice to see her. She came all the way from Texas to hang out and support.

Sean Wiggins played a dynamite set after Kelly’s Lot and again.. having seen her a few times, I’m always ready for some great vocals, songs and cool attitude Sean puts into her performances.

Kanary finished off the night. Leslie Knauer, with gutsy vocals and inspiring rhythm playing plus Mary being the "bass animal" she is… sexy.. in your face.. with a slightly distorted bass sound which has become her trademark… the audience was drooling.

Didn’t get to see Zero Hour or Susan Lorenzi but according to audience reports, they did a fine job entertaining. I had a great night… badly needed after stress at the home front… drank a few vinos… made a fool out of myself by talking too much LOL… always lecturing about the "importance of connecting with people and WHY we do what we do" ….dancing around to the toons and basically having a blast. Now.. there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

Read all our Show Reviews

WorldFest Event, March 13, ’04, B.B. Kings, Universal City, CA

Worldfest 2004 at Universal City Walk with Linda Blair, Marcy Levy

written and photographed by: Female Guitarist Shredmistress Rynata

with Linda Blair | Eileen Carey | Kathryn Grimm | Carlos Guitarlos | Marcy Levy

WORLDFEST is an organization that has set out to "make this planet a better place to live". It is based on the idea that how we each live our lives makes a difference. They have created the festival to gather the best examples of nonprofit organizations, empowering speakers, earth-friendly and animal-friendly products, holistic health services, great music, and delicious healthy food.

Needless to say, when Kathryn Grimm and Eileen Carey invited The Shredmistress to attend, I said "of course.. would love to"! B.B. Kings is a great place for live music so this promised to be a cool night… and it was.

Upon arrival we were greeted by a few sexy belly dancers who undulated around the room. Very scenic and entertaining. One of the celebrities that night was Linda Blair, grown from child actress (The Exorcist) into a beautiful and articulate woman. She partly MC’d that night and gave a few rousing and inspiring speeches. I felt guilty wearing my cool leather pants (being the nice night in L.A. that it was), since this was an all vegan affair. I pretended they were "just vinyl".

We waited for Eileen Carey and band to take the stage. Eileen Carey is a class act, a little bit country (or a lot..) a little bit funky and a little bit rock’n roll. All her songs are catchy and she sings them with passion and great deliverance. I ALWAYS dig her guitar player Masa who shreds his way thru some of her tunes, culminating in the rousing finale of the set with a song called "LAZY" where he just tore it up…Crowd loved it. Other great songs were "Ancient Desire", That Town, and that snappy tune "Good Time Charlie". Couldn’t help but dance to it.

More belly dancing, following Eileen’s set. One very sexy vegan dancer, surrounded by about half a dozen young studly men, pounding on drums….very seductive and primal. Nice touch. As we recovered from this visual spectacle Kathryn Grimm and her band KGB took the stage. She opened up her set with an acapella moment…("That’s how strong my love is.."), completely blew us out of our chairs with her POWERFUL and amazing vocal range. I’ve been a fan of her voice for a long time. She’s got one of those unique styles that just screams success…She looked mighty "dapper" in her black suit, hat and white shirt. "Fallen Angel" a beautiful song, inspired by the book "The Jungle" showcased her great voice, harmonies and guitar playing. She played some rippin’ and melodic guitar lines throughout her set that put her into the "serious guitarist" category.

Very few bassists out there can really kick my butt. Leon (Randy) Randolph is one of those cats. He plays so well behind Kathryn and when he steps up he "really" steps up. The bass solo he took at one point was outstanding. Masturbatory, sensuous, dexterous and brutal…don’t worry if ya can’t reconcile these adjectives.

Also in Kathryn’s cast was Billy Hulting on vibes. Nice addition to the overall sound. Great on this one funky tune with a "dooup dooup dooup" kinda feel. He’s also one of the organizers of Worldfest and plays with some heavy duty people (Manhattan Transfer, Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle). On keyboards and backup vox was the adorable Alex Seeley (Alexandria really…..). Kathryn and Alex harmonize so well together. I know I left off the drummer. Can’t remember his name. He was just overshadowed by the dynamite front line. He held it down very well, that much I remember (as the wine flowed..). In any event… check out Kathryn Grimm’s shows. Well worth it.

Headlining that night was the legendary Carlos Guitarlos. A blues legend, this rugged player had relocated from San Francisco to L.A. a few years ago. I had met him in S.F. years ago and had the pleasure of jamming with him ever so often. What can I say about CG… if you’re into the Blues, you’re into Carlos. He has set the measuring stick high for what blues guitar is all about. "Shake Rock’n Roll" a good ole number, was played with some awesome down and dirty blues guitar. His originals are super. He is a prolific song writer who has written enough songs to fill several books.

On stage with him was another female guitarist who also played harmonica: Marcy Levy. She wrote the hit "Lay Down Sally", which was covered by, among others, Eric Clapton and achieved mega success. Carlos was joined by his brother at one point who played some nice guitar. Runs in the family it seems. "Jambalaya" a song with a cajun feel and killer three part harmonies made you think of swamp land, fiddles (even though there weren’t any), crawfish and good ole Louisiana. A highlight. Carlos and gang played more infectious blues that got the crowd on their feet and dancing.

Read all our Show Reviews

Female Musicians Show at Cat Club, Hollywood, April 28th, 2002

FemMuse Female Musician show with A Touch of Class

Women Musicians Show at The Cat Club, Hollywood, April 28, 2002
Gals RULE at The Cat Club

Hosted by Female Guitarist Shredmistress Rynata

by Peter G. Lancellotti

Shredmistress Rynata, founder of FemMuse.com, put on an outstanding showcase of Female Indie Artists Sunday night, April 28th inside the intimate setting of Sunset strip’s The Cat Club.

Mc’d by the wildly outrageous and witty Sheena Metal of 97.1 FM talk radio, the evening opened with the intense ovations of The Shredmistress and her band The Fem Jam, also joined by Maral, bassist for the band Sanaiya currently on hiatus. Rynata’s philosophy and theme behind the evening of music was to display women in integral roles playing a hugely important part in the development of every genre and style of music. Proving this time and time again, after only nine months – yes, the length of a pregnancy – she has given birth to an extraordinary opportunity for women breaking into the industry. The men are also welcomed with open arms, but the imperative behind FemMuse is to have at least one woman in the band, if not more.

The evening’s line-up was an amazing blend of eclectic styles from several genres pleasing the audience to no end. The Cat Club was packed, including its catwalk staircase to the second level.

Singer/songwriter Lisa Johnson
A fantastic local artist on the LA music scene, combined powerful vocals and heartfelt messages with an acoustic style all her own. Her all-original material deserves definitive merit to the folk rock genre and gives reason to artists everywhere to continue the work of meaningful music that touches the heart.

Grammy nominated Roberta Donnay
Having a commanding style of alternative pop and a voice not known since Joni Mitchel, put a smile on all our faces. She has an extensive resume from film, television and radio and is truly a leader in the indie artist realm. Having appeared around the country with the likes of The Black Crowes, Eddie Money, Dan Fogelberg, Neil Young and Huey Lewis – her performance of the night warmed our hearts and made us realize why America pop rules. Roberta’s efforts on the music scene is inspirational with her charity work that includes the recent Benefit for Afghan Women in San Francisco and New York in 2001. Ending her set with an incredible jam session with the Shredmistress, we hope she will continue to work with the FemMuse network inspiring artists everywhere.

Danielle Egnew of the band Pope Jane
A long time friend of the evening’s hostess Sheena Metal, gave us a riveting solo performance with a vocal range that amazed and dazzled the audience. Coming from Montana and playing the Northwest circuit for years, Danielle has decided to come to the LA music scene to contribute a luscious and sensual act that is a must-see and definitively touched by the muse. Having opened for Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart back in 2000, she shared an evening of original music that rivals the likes of Tori Amos and Kate Bush.

Danielle Lo Presti and The Masses
Danielle’s band shook the house with their cutting edge blend of rock and punk. Their recent release of "Dear Mr. Penis Head" – actually a thank you note to a music industry attorney in LA who told her there was no place for a female that does "Adult/Thinking Rock" – has been endorsed by the Queen of Indie Music, Ani DiFranco as well as garnering a nomination at the LA Music Awards for best Indie Pop CD of the year. The band has been featured on KPBS Radio and festival stages throughout the southern California area. It is for certain that this band has much to offer and we will assuredly be hearing more of them in the coming months.

Eileen Carey, musical storyteller
With a bluesy vocal style blended splendidly with a folk rock beat, Eileen expresses herself like an angel. Reminiscent of the styles of K.D. Lang and Shawn Colvin, Eileen is the woman to listen for as she commands attention and presence on stage. Nominated for Best Adult Contemporary Artist at the 2000 Los Angeles Music Awards, she is also a major contributor to the FemMuse network and associate of Shredmistress Rynata, and is – as she puts it – a humble silent partner. Her sensitive, yet powerful, singer/songwriting talents have been recognized nationally with the song "That Town" which goes to show that independent artists can and will rank up there with big names who have big budgets.

Milktooth
Originally from San Francisco and recently transplanted in Los Angeles, received a welcoming response to their aggressive grunge/rock style. The overtones of heavy metal, ethereal psychedelics and smoky female vocals ended the evening’s showcase with quite a big bang. Vocalist/bassist Rebecca Hill and guitarist/vocalist Josh Chase formed the band in 1998. Their all-original music showcases influences from Soundgarden, Radiohead, Swans and U2 all wrapped up in a neatly woven experimental drama that continues to make indie music so worthy of larger audiences. MilkTooth, the self-released title of their debut CD in August 2001, is moody, dark and raw showing once again, that the indie scene doesn’t have to be Trent Reznor or Marilyn Manson to be a hit! And Milktooth is a hit!

It’s Guitar Shredding Time
Following the line-up of Shredmistress Rynata’s evening, she made an announcement for aspiring musicians to come up on stage and show us their stuff in a jam session that rocked The Cat Club till closing. Guitarist/vocalist Kathryn Grimm (www.kathryngrimm.com) Bassist/vocalist Leon Randolf, and Percussionist Steve Schaaff all added their musical talents during the night’s delivery of one the best indie shows in southern California.

Read all our Show Reviews