Known almost universally as a useful beauty product, Hairband titles the all female, feminist group that has emerged from the DIY Glasgow scene with one distinct purpose – to create music that advocates equality between men and women.
Disseminating feminist ideas through lyrics and blatant heartfelt emotions through music, their ideology spreads beyond the art they produce, and is captured by their name.
Hairbands – a product aimed primarily at women by a predominantly patriarchal capitalist society – have been reclaimed by feminists as a symbol that denotes female unity and solidarity in an overtly masculine world.
The performance of the Glaswegian punk rockers justifies their choice of appellation – collectively, they delivered a set that was punchy, enthralling, and kicked all things patriarchy in the delicates.
Lest readers forget that hairbands are practical – as well as beautifying – items; accessories used to keep hair off your face and generally help keep shit together. As the admirably fierce performers address the expectant crowd with steady, open gazes, it seem that each manages to declare ‘Before the bullshit begins and the warpaint is applied, you fire a hairband’, without breathing a syllable.
The musical team have strength in numbers as well as in sound, comprised of three singer-songwriters doubling as guitarists. Their set is underpinned by a rocksteady rhythm section, and fortified by the unfailing support of lyrics and passionate vocals.
Glasgow’s DIY scene – a subculture based around music influenced from underused genres, rather than the traditional generic staples – is currently blossoming as its artists generate rich and melodic guitar music at an impressive rate.
Hairband’s performance of guitar playing is beyond thrilling – remarkable enough to rival the sounds produced by the Brian Jonestown Massacre, or the Dandy Warhols.
Their music is ethereal, powerfully punctuated by yelps and shouts not dissimilar to the staple cries of an Arcade Fire track. My, can they write – and engagingly perform – songs.
They also have an undeniable chemistry on stage – a connection that most bands strive for throughout their time together, yet fail to achieve. There is a glue which holds the band together, sonically and ideologically. Is it formed by their sisterhood, girl-gang aesthetic; or could it be the sound of competitive musical minds, collecting and pooling their resources. Either way, it is brazen and impressive.
Glasgow’s DIY noise scene, which bore teenage fruit as early as 2007, has yet to mature into a fine wine (realistically it is at the stand-out ale, microbrewery stage: the produce is becoming more concentrated but remains effervescent with a youthful energy).
But this lack of generic maturity does not affect Hairband – their performance testifies this. The vibrancy, inventiveness, humour and spontaneity of their respective side and solo projects are distilled here into a potent bouquet of exhilarating songs that engages a crowd of novice listeners.
Hairband is a welcome addition to the scene and provides us with a facet of femininity that is sorely underrepresented in contemporary music.
As they thrust their poetic musings and punchy lyrics at the crowd, I imagine that each of them is , internally, asking us viewers: ‘So where are you, you mythical Bridget Joneses? Have you all evaporated?’ This lyrical interpretation will later lead me to conclude that, in just one evening, the sisters of standing up to patriarchal nonsense have proved themselves the indomitable queens of contemporary punk.
This vibrant strain of feminist performance etiquette is long overdue. I, for one, hope that their live gig resonates with other audience members to the extent it does with me.