Day for Night Artist Spotlight: Pussy Riot

hard to talk about Pussy Riot and not talk about politics as they have taken to use their music to voice their very strong stance on the political nature of their nation: Russia. Pussy Riot is a punk rock band with feminist girls that protest against capitalism and current Russian politics. When they first formed in September of 2011, they refused to play at normal venues and instead took their garage punk sound to the streets of Russia performing in public places like Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Red Square, places closely tied to the government. Their risqué songs and name of the band, which they chose in order to portray their rebellion against the cultural order through a female sex organ that is usually the receiving end, brought them a lot of international attention.

Pussy Riot’s musical inspiration comes from classic 1960s punk bands like The Angelic Upstarts, Cockney Rejects, Sham 69 as well as 1990s bands in the Riot Grrrl act, as both categories took strong political and social stance during their time while creating a sound that resonated throughout that atmosphere. The anonymity that Pussy Riot was built on (later shattered as some members were arrested and their names leaked to the media) goes with the concept that anyone can be part of their movement whether by simply agreeing with and supporting their stands or by putting on a neon balaclava and protesting. They are not simply musicians or activists, they are artists who create ways to discuss serious issues through music that is both entertaining and cannot be ignored by the media.

To date, there are 10 songs that Pussy Riot has released. The first 7 songs were in Russian and were poorly recorded, floating around the internet for people to download. Many of those songs were performed out in public with strong messages that speak out against sexism like “Kill the Sexist”, the lack of a fair judicial system like “Death to Prison, Freedom to Protests” and their distaste of Putin like “Mother of God, Drive Putin Away”. At the beginning of 2015, they released their first song and video in England “I Can’t Breathe”, named after the last words Eric Garner said as the NYC Police held him down. Most recently, in October of last year, they released the song “Make America Great Again”, which depicts a nation led by Donald Trump. The video got 2.4M views.

The band doesn’t perform often and when it does it’s usually around Europe as it is easier to get around and the underground culture is quite large, but next month they are coming to perform at Day for Night music festival right here in Houston Dec. 15-17. It is a rare occasion to catch them so far from home so buy your tickets here and let’s go witness a once in a lifetime performance.

 

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