Hailing from South Africa, The Soap Girls like to challenge convention through their unique brand of Punk Rock. The sisters promote feminism and ethics, which at the heart is, ‘Be kind to each other and don’t judge other people based on appearance’.
Tonight, the three-piece band are performing at The Cathouse Rock Club in the heart of Glasgow on their ‘Sniff the Strap Tour’. The support act for tonight’s show is ‘Dylan Paterson’ from Newtown in the Scottish Borders.
Paterson is performing as a three-piece with his band although you can catch him as a solo artist at times. Paterson himself is the vocalist and guitarist. This talented musician belts our catchy rock tunes all set to the rhythm of his Dad on drums and friend on bass guitar.
The audience turnout was rather disappointing, and I had expected a larger turnout to see The Soap Girls. The Cathouse is a musical Mecca and has showcased some of the most influential artists of our time.
I have fond memories of this place and remember its formal location on Brown Street some 25 years ago. Feeling rather nostalgic, I entered the venue which was freezing cold. The inside was not going to be a sanctuary from the cold and biting November night! The source of this deep freeze is s a large cage stuck to the side of the building to let smokers out to indulge. Due to the layout and architectural internal/external design of this, it means that there is no door closed over to keep the heat in and the cold out.
To appease the smokers, this means the venue is like an ice box. This is something that especially tonight might be an issue for the Soap Girls who strip off and wear next to nothing as part of their performance. When the Soap Girls took to the stage they looked frozen and commented on how cold the room was.
Despite the chill in the air and low punter numbers, the Soap Girls wasted no time in jumping into their first song and from my position in the narrow pit I started to photograph the band in the dim lighting that shown onto the stage.
The lights favoured ‘Stage Left’ so Millie was reasonably lit at her microphone stand however when she walked away she walked into the darkness. Guitarist Mie was dimly lit and the drummer was in constant darkness.
The audio was ropy at best with the girl’s microphones barely audible for the first couple of songs. This was eventually addressed, and the show continued. The audio was so bad the girls debated whether to start the first song again. I’m struggling to imagine what caused the issue and why it took such a long time to rectify, given the Dylan Paterson’s audio was sufficient.
Despite the aforementioned issues, The Soap Girls played an outstanding show. The girls’ energy did not wane, and they performed an excellent gig with some outstanding acrobatic-bass playing.
How someone can bend and contort into these positions while not falling over while still playing the bass and not dropping a note while doing so is amazing to me! The camaraderie and on-stage banter between the girls was fun and a nice interlude between songs.
The Bass playing style and playing performance of Millie was reminiscence of Jennifer Finch from L7, another great band who was a trailer-blazer for women in music. The Soap Girls have honed their craft and they know exactly what they are doing on stage. They play off each other and the performance is electrifying.
After the gig the girls came out to meet the crowd and chat with them and pose for photos. There were fans waiting to buy some of the cool looking Soap Girls T-Shirts, however it was not apparent who was in charge of the ‘Merch’ stand, so I think they might have missed on a few sales.
All in all, The Soap Girls played an outstanding set and believe me when I say this band is not a novelty act. These girls, and let’s not forget the drummer in the darkness, are serious musicians who are at the top of their game. The girls are on tour now so if you get the chance get along and see them.
Review & Photography by Steven Scouller