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Blood Pressure Rising

To the Editor:

I canít let Bill Ketzerís recent review of the Blue Oyster Cult/Antigone Rising concert at Northern Lights [Live, Oct. 24] go by without comment.

While I realize that his primary purpose was to review the headlining act (Blue Oyster Cult), why couldnít he simply evaluate the opening act, Antigone Rising, without trivializing the five women who make up this band? Is that really necessary, especially in a supposedly progressive newspaper? Mr. Ketzer felt the need to waste space with comments such as: ďI did, however, overhear someone describe the group as a Ďkind of like an Ally McBeal episode put to music,í which is perhaps a reasonable assessment, but they look a lot healthier.Ē What does that statement even mean, other than the fact that the TV show and the band both include women?

He also tells us that comparisons to Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls inevitably arise. Iím not sure it is inevitable that that an audience interprets female musicians only as a knockoff of these more well-known performers. The folks chatting with me before the show, both male and female, all made it clear that they thought AR was something unique and not to be missed. Thatís why they were there.

Maybe in the future, your reviewer could leave Ally, Melissa, the Indigos and other comfortably familiar icons of pop culture behind and look at each show from a fresh perspective. Thatís the fun part of hearing new music. Iíll look forward to his next review.

Linda C. McCarthy
Albany

To the Editor:

Bill Ketzerís review of our show with BOC was brought to my attention by a fan. She wanted to know if it outraged us in the same way it did her that we would be painted so one-dimensionally. After reading the blurb I struggled with my indie-band conscience. It reminded me that any press is good press, and how fortunate we are to be mentioned in any publication for doing what we love.

Then I read it again.

I must say that when I signed up for this I was a tad uninformed about the trappings of being in an all-female rock band. I thought if we were talented and professional that we would receive the same respect as the boys. Not more, only the same. After three years in Antigone Rising I have witnessed reactions both rewarding and shocking. Letís face it, itís a male-dominated industry, but weíre not fragile, and we love our job. I especially love to do it in Albany. The good people of the Capital Region have created a supportive atmosphere for our band. And in return we deliver 100 percent every time.

We have been reviewed by school newspapers with more accuracy. Mr. Ketzerís limited vocabulary with regard to our performance and influences is disappointing, and not just a little sexist. I shudder to think of the other reasons he would have compared us to the artists he did. But I will bite my tongue on that thought.

For unlikely future reviews, AR was NOT influenced by the following: Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, Ally McBeal. While all are inspiring, and chock full of talent, it is not where WE are coming from. I suppose strong male lead vocals are a result of Melissa E. as well? Or just females because Mr. Ketzer swims in a puddle of musical knowledge? Our influences range from the Beatles to Fleetwood Mac. From Hendrix to Stevie Wonder. From the Carpenters to Pearl Jam. From Zeppelin to Tom Waits. We are a classically trained, seasoned, educated, full-time rock band FIRST. We are women SECOND. We do appreciate the free press, but would rather not receive a sexist, uninformed, backhanded compliment from a reviewer whose writing is uninspired, and simply doesnít get it.

My band busts their asses to do this and they deserve respect. Theyíve EARNED it. If you dig us or not.

Cassidy
Lead singer, Antigone Rising
New York City

Bill Ketzer replies:

Sweet! My first hate mail. I canít wait to see what happens when I review a band I actually hate. Cassidy, your incendiary, presumptuous response to my paltry two cents says more than I ever could. This is exactly the kind of misappropriated indignation that fails to produce a credible persona for feminist leadership. What a surprise that Antigone Rising has no sense of humor. Who wouldíve guessed?

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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