The citizens of Phoenix were in for a special treat. Tonight they would be in the presence of Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot is a female feminist protest and performance group from Russia.
The audience had packed into The Crescent Ballroom; everyone had been waiting patiently. The start time for the show had come and gone. Everyone was curious what the delay was. We noticed that merch had not been set out and we all wondered if the band had hit traffic. All of a sudden it was time, the band had come in.
The stage had been set up and a man came out onto the stage. The man was Alexander Cheparukhin. Alexander was their tour contact and had been with them for what seems like forever. Alexander explained that they had gotten lost, hit traffic and ran out of gas; that is why the band was late to the venue. He began to give the long and treacherous history.
Their road had been long and full of twists and turns. He discussed how they started out as an art movement and that as artists they had free speech; that is until Putin had taken that away and started to imprison artists. This is what happened to some of the girls from Pussy Riot.
They no longer had the right to express themselves freely; their basic human rights slowly stripped away. These women continued to voice and fight for not only their rights but the rights of others. Some of the members could no longer return to Russia because they would be arrested again. Nadya Tolokonnikova is one of the founding members of Pussy Riot.
Their performance was based off their most recent imprisonment. The members came on in almost total darkness. They were shrouded in lights of blues and pinks. Tolokonnikova came out in a ski mask with a another member. Each song was a different chapter of their tale. They combined performance acting, music and a slideshow to tell their story and journeys. They also incorporated props in some of the scenes or acts. Each member played a vital role in the retelling of this journey that they had all somehow been a part of.
Their songs were so performed like spoken word poetry. They had emphasis on certain words and phrases; they screamed some parts. The visuals were powerful but they also reenacted certain scenarios. At one point Tolokonnikova lite a cigarette and smoked on stage. They she poured water on herself to reenact a rainy scene.
Overall their performance was truly impactful and inspiring. Many people who were watching could not believe what these women had been through and what they are still fighting for. At the very end they discussed how they stand with Ukraine and any merchandise that people bought would help to raise money for the hospital in Ukraine.
The first band of the night was Death Valley Girls. This is a Los Angeles based band that has a fun and unique sound to them. The band came onto the stage and was surrounded by blue lights. They also had blacklights on stage. This was because the singer wore black light reactive makeup; so it would glow a bright green.
They opened their set with “Abre Camino” followed by “Street Justice”. Their singer started out their set by playing the guitar. she eventually took the guitar off and just played they keyboard while she sang. They were full of energy and fun, every one moved about the stage and danced along to their music.
During one of their songs, their singer jumped off the stage and began to sing while walking among the audience. She would shake their hands and hug some of the members of the audience. You could tell she was having an absolute blast and truly appreciated everyone who was there to watch their set.
Death Valley Girls