Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trinomial Bands: Go Betty Go


Go Betty Go: You're Your Worst Enemy
[purchase]

Since I’ve started contributing to this blog, I seem to have written a great deal about my son, and not so much about my daughter. That is probably in part because my son and I have more similar tastes, and in part because by the time she was interested in going to concerts, her older brother could chaperone her. But we do have some good stories.

In 2004, my son wanted to go to Warped Tour. He was 14 and was in a punky phase. If you don’t know what Warped Tour is, it is a full day, multi-stage outdoor festival that is targeted at teens, and usually focused on punk, emo and other permutations of the style (screamo, ska, metal, etc.). It is also a great marketing event, with tons of sponsors and merch booths. I agreed to take him and a few of his friends to the show, which was held at Randall’s Island off of Manhattan. As it turned out, it was a great day. A rare August day that was warm, but not hot, with no humidity. We saw some great bands, including NOFX, Anti-Flag, Flogging Molly, Coheed & Cambria, Bad Religion, Sugarcult and Tiger Army. Because so many of the kids were in their early and mid-teens, there were lots of parents and there was a dedicated parents’ tent for all of the chaperones who wanted some air conditioning and a place to sit, but I never needed it. I had a blast.

Flash forward a year. My daughter is now almost 12, and she wants to go to Warped Tour. The lineup isn’t as good, but I had so much fun, I agree to take her, my son and a friend of his. This year, however, it is 100+ degrees. The hottest day in New York in years. Something that didn’t really register the year before is that there is almost no shade, and whatever shade there is, is filled with people and their trash. We do see some good bands, including The Transplants, Dropkick Murphys, My Chemical Romance, the Fear Nuttin’ Band and Motion City Soundtrack, but there are too many damned emo bands that sound alike. It is so hot, that I, a 44 year old lawyer with two kids, find myself lying in the dirt trying to stay cool. Luckily, the promoters provide free water trucks, or there would have been even more people passing out than we saw (they did have good medical support, though). And the line to the parents’ tent is incredibly long, so I don’t even try to get in.

At one point, my daughter and I are not interested in the bands playing on the main stages and head off to check out the smaller stages. Although there are girls at Warped Tour, the audience is mostly boys, and the bands are mostly male. We stumble upon a stage featuring an all-female band, rocking out. They are Go Betty Go, and they are great. The singer, Nicolette Vilar, has an incredible punk voice. Her sister Aixa is a muscular, powerful drummer, Michelle Rangel is a strong bass player, and the guitarist, Betty Cisneros, rocks. We enjoy the hell out of the set, and we buy their CD at the merch table. I was glad that there was at least one female role model for my daughter, who is a singer. Although her repertoire skews more toward singer/songwriter and soul these days, I’d like to think that seeing Go Betty Go reinforced to her that girls can rock.

At about 4, there is a brief rain shower that is welcome because it cooled everything down and kept some of the dust out of the air. Although Warped Tour 2 wasn’t the great experience of Warped Tour 1, I still had a great time, got some great stories, and shared some musical memories with my daughter.

In 2006, Warped Tour moved to The Nassau Coliseum parking lot, and we didn’t follow.

This song, “You're Your Worst Enemy,” is from the EP that we bought at the show. It is the first track, and is pretty much what you will get from the band. Tight playing, some harmonies and great hooks. The next year, Go Betty Go released a very good full length album, but canceled the end of the supporting tour apparently due to dissention in the band. Singer Nicolette Vilar left and ultimately was replaced by a singer who later was on American Idol. From all reports, the band is basically defunct, which is too bad.

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