|Photo by Trysten Redmond|
Saturday, March 9th – I attended a concert in Chico at the Senator Theater, part of the Seduce and Destroy world tour. Otep was headlining with the opening bands, One-Eyed Doll, and Picture Me Broken. These are all bands front lined by women. Personally, all of these bands resonate with me in one way or another. Seeing strong, independent women pursue their dream is an inspiring act to witness. It was unfortunate the show came up last minute; this caused a smaller crowd than usual. Which can arguably be a better show with more breathing room; it’s all dependent on your personal preference. As they say, let’s get this show on the road!
The first band to take the stage was Picture Me Broken! The guitarists began their rifts, drummer chiming in, Layla "Brooklyn" Allman moved onto the stage with a presence—a certain charm surrounding her. The crowd immediately cheered on the enthusiastic band members, calling out to them, and receiving a response. They were loud, interactive, and obviously happy to be a part of the tour! They openly consider themselves a rock ‘n roll band, attempting to bring back the artistry that has faded in the industry over time. Which in my opinion, and the crowd’s reaction throughout their entire set, they achieved it. Original songs as well as instantaneous attention grabbing stage antics, there was no way this band wasn’t going to be successful that night. Since this show, they have gained another avid fan. Their unique sounds completed the live experience.
After the aforementioned; One-Eyed Doll set up on stage. The mood was shifting a bit, knowing Otep would saunter before us after this band; also in hopes of seeing another phenomenal performance. I had the pleasure of meeting Kim and Junior before the doors to the theater had been opened for the show. A friend and I decided to walk down to a coffee shop on the corner; low and behold there she stood! Kim proceeded to turn around and compliment my Otep t-shirt, after which I asked, “Are you Kim, the vocalist from One-Eyed Doll?” She was excited that I knew who she was, considering Chico isn’t a large city, she was under the assumption they wouldn’t have a large fan base in this area. They took a photo with me and we began to converse about coffee and various teas, she even shared hers with me. I have never met an individual who radiated such a laid back persona, speaking to me as if we had known each other for years. It’s refreshing to come across musicians with that nature about them. Reverting back from my digression, the moment they moved onto the stage we knew this was definitely going to be interactive, audience participation: mandatory. A mixture of Halloween and Anime was a visual impact, strawberry shortcake combined with Jack Skellington; smacked us right in the dome. Again, that personality and now a very visible show stopper were more than prominent. The entire set required us to sing along with her or give responses to bizarre questions. I would say she definitely reminded me of a female version of GWAR! It was something we had not expected when they emerged from behind that black curtain. Even with a smaller crowd, the waves of people attempting to get closer to the impossible-not-to-love lady on stage, was immense. You could not go wrong with this punk rock style, power rock duo. The music and stage props were on point; her story telling brought us all to laughter with a side of ear drum rattling cheers. When you can entice an audience to that degree, you know you’ve just witnessed something truly special. Needless to say, we were prepared for Otep Shamaya.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the pinnacle of the evening, the reason we all gathered at this event. We are tribe--the chanting began before the lights had the opportunity to dim, “Otep, Otep, Otep, Otep!” our voices moving in a mellifluous rhythm, reverb circulating throughout the theater. Her tribe waits, the guitarists set in motion the glorious uproar of screams as Otep Shamaya graces us with her presence. Bodies begin to crash into one another as circle pits form and people fight to reach the stage. Your hands are gripping the railing, perspiration makes it difficult to grip, but you aren’t letting go. Our legs are on fire from standing and holding off the raging crowd, it’s worth it. The guitarists are dressed in a manner that causes you to think of a horror film, potato sack over the head, and a mouth piece with black straps. Otep provides us not only with older songs for the more seasoned fans, but also music from her brand new album—Hydra. We have the ability to interact and yell out song titles in hopes of hearing them live, of course she delivers. Otep Shamaya is an inspiration to many individuals, she supports human rights, LGBTQ rights (as she is a very out and proud lesbian), a pronounced advocate of speaking one’s mind, but she also takes the time to interact with her fans. Always providing a meet and greet at the end of the shows, even accepting gifts and keeping them. Her arms are covered in bracelets from fans, necklaces, as well as her microphone stand—which is known to be a catch-all for valued gifts over the years. This makes a show with her not only worthwhile, but, memorable. I know from a personal perspective I will never forget meeting her afterward and taking in every compliment she extended my way. I spoke to Kim (One-Eyed Doll vocalist/guitarist) after the show. She immediately pulled me into a hug and exclaimed, “I was so happy to see you up front!” She then bit my poster and wrote, “Kim was here.” the perfect night cap to an extraordinary evening.
It was an honor and privilege to attend this show and speak with these individuals.
Representing the Fusion Pit