The SoapGirls @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Saturday 31 August 2019

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Witnessed by Jason Guest

Because they spend a lot of their time as near to naked as it’s possible to get – both on- and off-stage – it’d be easy to jump on the belittlement bandwagon and dismiss The SoapGirls as little more than talentless wannabes and attention grabbers. But that would raise a lot of questions, wouldn’t it? Like the most successful female pop stars – by which I mean the manufactured muppets that are squeezed into size zero garb to squeal out the same formulaic ditties about love and sex whose bones are quickly spat out by the cannibalistic industry when their sell-by date hits (i.e. when puberty ends) – this duo are both attractive and wear very little on stage. If that’s all it takes to become a star, then why are they not playing some vast arena with huge screens flanking the massive floodlit stage so that even those up in the over-priced seats right up in the nosebleeds can get a good close up of their nipples in 4D Ultra High Definition?

The difference – the major difference – is that The SoapGirls write their own tunes. And they write very good tunes. And they can play. And they really do not give a shit what you think: “If you have a problem with skin, get out!” Anti-authoritarian, anti-oppression, anti-prejudice, anti-government, anti-religious (“I’m Jewish so fuck you!”), pro-music, pro-freedom, pro-feminist, The SoapGirls are the very embodiment of what makes little boys masquerading as big men twitch and squirm and very loudly shout how they think women should act in order to be considered a woman, a proper woman: very not naked, very not sexually arousing, responsive, or empowered, and very not having – let alone voicing – their own opinions or any opposition. Y’know, just like angel mommy was. And all their girlfriends will be. Oops, sorry, shouldn’t have used the plural. Maybe not even the singular…

Anyway, resplendent in glamorously sparkling headdresses, lingerie, and their weapons of choice – guitar and bass – the duo introduce themselves: “Hi, we’re The SopaGirls and we love music and we love to play; thanks for coming to see us!” Then come the tunes, one catchy melody, one hook-laced chorus and one headbanging pop/punk riff after another. The energy in the room is ramped up to eleven within minutes and the bad and crowd are one. And for ninety or more minutes, the energy in the room stays high. Very high. Millie’s headdress is soon wrestled from her hair and her vocals get fiercer, her jumps higher, her bend-over-backwards-bends lower, and the energy gets even higher.

Churning out chunky down-picked riffs and chords and many a merry melody, Mie’s guitar playing is tight and powerful. Millie’s bass playing is slung low grooves and dynamic where it needs to be, and when she bends over backwards almost touching her head to the floor, she never drops a note. And vocally, sometimes one taking the lead, sometimes swapping with each line, sometimes harmonising – oh those harmonies! – they’ve got great voices, Mie’s more melodic and Millie’s more raging. And sitting behind them both is drummer Sam smashing out the beats and driving the whole thing forward – topless. Well, if the girls can do it…

Freedom of sexuality, nudity without judgement or objectification, people before profit, ethical animal treatment (whether we eat them or not), respectful human interaction for a beneficial co-existence, The SoapGirls take on every elephant in the room. And you know what? This freedom stuff is a lot of fun. It makes you wonder why anyone would be opposed to it. Tonight was a lot of fun. Full-on fearless punk rock ferocity. They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Tonight we ate soap. And it tasted like Fuck You Very Much.

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