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