St. John’s is undergoing a female-led rock renaissance, and rightfully so. Last year, initiatives like Band Off and Girls Rock NL stoked the creative minds of the women of the city, calling to action a generation of talent usually left maligned, while male-dominated shows set the palette for everyone’s weekend.
Yee grlz’s Party Streak steeps that ideal in honesty and character, while speaking to mundanity with wit. It’s grimy and straight to the point, wrapping everything up in a package reminiscent of grrrllbearers like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. There’s no use in overanalyzing it; it’s 8 songs that clock in under 12 minutes, thoroughly ripped through with catchy choruses and power chords.
Borealis winner Jake Nicoll captures every second of Catherine Roberge, Becky Gibson, Jessica Gibson, and Jess Barry as they beat and wail and scrape. It’s vicious and fun and real. “Like a bag of chips” and “not yr girl” remind me of old school St. John’s punk.
It’s meant for a moshpit or a tape deck, with “I don’t want to be what you want me to be, I’m not your girl” summing up the DIY mentality and disregard for traditional roles. While yee grlz playfully tackle some more pressing concerns, its essence lies in a down to earth portrayal of humans being humans, no matter what gender or persuasion.
There’s always been a female footing in the St. John’s folk scene, but when it comes to the grittier punk and rock scenes, there’s been a noticeable lack of engagement. 2016 was a transitional year in a lot of ways, but strides towards gender inclusion were a huge part of the narrative in this small city.
Never a simple task, it was built with a combination of homegrown work ethic and good old fashioned political activism. Yee Grlz exemplifies that particular mindset: to simply create, to not be daunted by the act of doing so, and to just f@cking play.