Sweetie Shines Spotlight on Queer and Femme Power at Liars Club
By: Kimberly Kapela
Birdy Vee, the dynamic frontwoman of the local punk sensation Sweetie, once again took center stage in Chicago’s vibrant punk scene. On the night of Dec. 16, she orchestrated another successful event at the iconic Liars Club, presenting an all-queer and femme lineup that resonated with the energy and ethos of the punk community.
With a commitment to amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups in the music scene, Vee curated a lineup that not only showcased the raw and powerful sound of punk but also celebrated the diversity within the genre. The Liars Club, a renowned venue in the heart of Chicago, provided the perfect backdrop for this rebellious and inclusive showcase.
Featuring a lineup of talented queer and femme musicians from out of state, each brought their unique style and perspective to the stage. Performers included Rat Bath, The Daddy Sisters, Trash Pandas, and of course, Sweetie. As the crowd gathered, there was a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement, fueled by the knowledge that this was more than just a concert – it was a statement.
The Liars Club, with its dimly lit, grungy atmosphere, served as the perfect setting for the rebellious spirit of the night. With Trash Pandas starting the night off strong, the sound of guitars and drums reverberated through the venue, echoing the punk ethos of resistance and individuality.
Comprising all trans individuals, Rat Bath embraces their identity and uses their platform to challenge stereotypes and celebrate diversity. What sets Rat Bath apart is their intriguing approach to storytelling. Describing their sound as “Y’allternative,” Rat Bath refuses to be easily categorized, though others have dubbed them Cow Punk, Alternative Emo, Dirt Americana, and even Murder Country. Regardless of the label, their music is characterized by a fast-paced, loud, and uniquely gritty edge.
From the moment they took the stage, The Daddy Sisters unleashed a sonic force that resonated with raw emotion and unbridled energy. Their guttural screams reverberated through the venue, creating an atmosphere charged with intensity. The electrifying performance was more than just a musical spectacle; it was a call to action, an invitation for everyone in the audience to embrace and celebrate their true selves.
Closing the night was headliner Sweetie, best known for their distinctive blend of attitude, ferocity, and a touch of French flair. The band played their top hits opening with “Teeth,” and ending with “Bulletproof” and “Devil Girl.” With a perfect fusion of punk energy and femme fatale energy, Sweetie put on an empowering performance.
Sweetie represents more than just a punk band; they embody a lifestyle, a fusion of punk ethos and femme glamor that celebrates individuality. Sweetie continues to leave a mark on the Chicago music scene, captivating audiences with their unapologetic embrace of their unique brand of lipstick punk.
Vee spoke passionately about her motivation for organizing femme and queer-led events in an effort to break down barriers such as Hands Off Our Fest back in September in Blue Island.
“I chose this lineup because all of these bands rock so hard,” Vee says. “I love networking with new artists and feel very passionate about organizing lineups that shine a spotlight on the women, femmes, themes, and queer musicians in the scene. A lot of times these artists get overlooked or passed up for all cis-male bands. It is so important that we are pushing for diversity in these spaces.”
Vee’s commitment to fostering diversity in the punk scene was evident in every chord struck and every lyric belted out.
“I want to collaborate as often as possible with the women, femmes, thems, and queer folks in the scene and strengthen our bonds and our network with one another, creating a feeling of freedom, safety, togetherness, and support for ourselves within these spaces,” Vee says.
Performances from the four bands weren’t just about the music, they were efforts to create a space where everyone, regardless of gender identity or expression, felt seen and celebrated.
“I hope from this event, attendees can discover new acts from out of town that are totally tearing it up,” Vee says. “Rat Bath, The Daddy Sisters, and Trash Pandas are all seriously so good, and I have been dying to play with all of them.”
The success of the all-queer and femme lineup at the Liars Club was not just measured in applause and cheers but in the collective sense of unity and empowerment that lingered in the air. The bands proved that punk is not just a genre of music; it’s a force for change, a platform for the marginalized to be heard, and a celebration of diversity in all its rebellious glory.
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Hands Off Our Fest: