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Mannequin Pussy with Pinkshift 9.16.21

Sep 20, 2021

mannequin pussy

 

On Thursday night, I saw Mannequin Pussy with Pinkshift at 7th Street Entry, a show that Radio K was supposed to sponsor but couldn’t due to us being unable to say the word “pussy” on air.

Opening at 8 o’ clock sharp was Pinkshift, an indie pop-punk band I recognized not by name but by their unmistakable album art. The four-piece from Baltimore, consisting of lead singer Ashrita Kumar, guitarist Paul Vallejo, bassist Erich Weinroth, and drummer Myron Houngbedji, was a cosmic force of youthful pop-punk energy and excitement. Kumar jumped around so much that one space bun broke free from it’s oppressive hair tie and the other only barely survived. She bantered between songs, and at one point even pointed out the members of Gully Boys in the crowd, a nice nod to the local scene. Though, in typical punk rock fashion, the banter between songs was the only time you could actually understand anything she was saying. Overall, they were a great opener that achieved their purpose of getting the crowd warmed up and ready for the main act, and had a ton of fun while doing it.

As soon as Mannequin Pussy stepped on stage at 9 o’ clock, the room immediately had this aura of “the professionals are here.” The trio from Philadelphia, consisting of lead singer/guitarist Marisa Dabice, bassist/backup vocalist Colins Regisford, and drummer Kaleen Reading (though they also performed with a touring keyboardist and guitarist), was a masterclass in musicianship. Dabice’s vocals soared elegantly above the band’s technical riffs, and their timing never missed a beat. Dabice’s vocals really shined in songs like “Control,” where she managed to sing both the song’s loud choruses and soft verses with equal power and... control. The band’s mixed discography of angry hard-hitters and mopey breakup songs, a part of their brand, worked surprisingly well in a live environment. Each type complimented the other, the angry songs rocking so hard that they made the crowd jump up and down like fish out of water, and the slower ones giving the crowd (and the band) time to catch their breath.

Even in between the bangers, the band had your full attention. Instrumental passages played in between songs guaranteed that there was never a moment of silence throughout the set. These did a nice job of adding to the atmosphere while also performing a secondary purpose of preventing awkward silence. About halfway through the set, Dabice gave a monologue, with equal parts sincerity and sarcasm, about using the anger living inside your gut to make the world better. She also commented on America’s history of White supremacy and urged us all to do our part to eradicate it.

When they finished their last song and left the stage, I was disappointed that they didn’t play Pigs is Pigs, my favorite of theirs. The rest of the crowd seemed to agree with me, as there became a scattered pleading of “Pigs is Pigs! Pigs is Pigs!” throughout the venue. The song, which is the first in Mannequin Pussy’s discography to be sung by Regisford, is a hardcore punk song about Regisford’s experience as a Black man in America and his fears of police brutality. When the band returned for the encore, Dabice chuckled as she said “Oh we didn’t forget about Pigs is Pigs.” Regisford took center stage, and the band launched into the most passionate performance of the night, with Regisford’s anger apparent in every word he shouted. The crowd went absolutely wild, and the entire venue seemed to shake as they screamed along with Regisford. It was an incredible ending to an incredible show.

 

by Clara Smith