raincity.jpg
Puja Parakh
A photo from the 2010 showcase.
Rain City Rock Camp for Girls Summer Camp Showcase

Neumos

Saturday, July 30

Summer camp has officially

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Confidence Is Queen at Rain City Rock Camp for Girls Showcase, Saturday at Neumos

raincity.jpg
Puja Parakh
A photo from the 2010 showcase.
Rain City Rock Camp for Girls Summer Camp Showcase

Neumos

Saturday, July 30

Summer camp has officially gotten a lot cooler. Gone are the days of popsicle-stick craft projects and endless games of tetherball. In their place: zine-making, turntabling, and the history of women in music.

At least that's what's on the syllabus at Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, which held a showcase for its first round of campers Saturday afternoon. In the week preceding, the session's 60 attendees, aged 8-16, learned an instrument (bass, drums, guitar, or vocals), formed bands, and wrote an original song. Saturday marked their chance to show off their newly minted rock-star status.

At 1 p.m. on a gorgeous day, Neumos was as hot, dark, and grungy as ever, admirably camouflaging the early hour and lending an air of late-night authenticity. A lyrically inappropriate Pixies song wafted over the audience as campers milled about in their rock-and-roll finery, in this case embellished camp tees and spray-on hair dye. Onstage, a pair of extra-short mike stands meant the event's emcee had to bend nearly double as she announced the theme for the concert--"Earplugs, energy, and enthusiastic cheering!"

The campers were divided by age into four groups. The younger girls made up the Cassettes and Mp3s, while the teenagers were the 8-Tracks and Vinyls. Up first were the Cassettes and Mp3s. Despite having spent some time at the camp earlier in the week, this correspondent wasn't at all sure what to expect. The younger girls looked so tiny. At their age I hadn't even bought my first Christina Aguilera CD, let alone learned an instrument and started a band.

But sure enough, the concert started off with a bang with the song "Girls Go Crazy," an up-tempo, almost punk number from J.E.S.S. Sweety Monstars. "Girls can do anything they want if we try . . . girls can blow the roof off, we can play guitar," sang frontwoman Jay Lovell, kicking off the showcase with a theme that would run throughout. Though the afternoon's 16 songs ranged in subject from stalkers to bad parenting to Star Wars, many dealt with the theme of empowerment and not letting anyone or anything hold you back.

The songs were truly amazing, and it was awesome to see the campers tap into rock-and-roll tropes like audience interaction ("We love you, Seattle!", "Are you ready to rock?", etc.) and stage tricks like playing back-to-back. The confidence of the performers was inspiring--no one seemed nervous or apologetic. In fact, everyone looked like they were having a lot of fun. Hopefully the girls keep that confidence as they get older and continue to believe they can do anything they want, including becoming rockstars. Girls rock!

The crowd: Family and friends of camp attendees--probably some of the coolest parents in Seattle.

FYI: Ladies, if this sounds like something you missed growing up, Rain City also hosts a rock camp for women aged 19+ August 26-28 at Theatre Off Jackson. Check girlsrockseattle.org for more info.

And if you want to catch a Rain City Rock Camp performance yourself, they'll be doing it all over again next Saturday, August 6, at 1 p.m. at Neumos.

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