Gown may not be the band that Durham deserves, but they are, without a doubt, the band that Durham needs.
by: Eli McDuffee
aka “The Guy eating chips in the front row”
Simply put, the women of Gown are heroines. Their message is tough. It is likely hard for some to swallow. Their songs are ugly and brutally honest, which is why they need to be heard. They don’t beat around the bush with metaphors. No, instead they throw you headlong into the discomfort that women in this country face on a daily basis.
Frontwoman Whitney* wastes no time in telling the audience her familiarity with harassment. Rather than describe it, she reenacts an encounter and becomes the offender. It’s not pretty.
The songs feel so personal and close to home. There were moments when I found myself looking around the room and questioning the guilt/innocence of audience members.
Was that the point? Gown projects the discomfort right onto the crowd.
It’s difficult to stand there and take it all in, but right before the intensity of feeling becomes unbearable, you get whisked away by melodic cellos back into a safe and comfortable zone. The music covers a lot of ground and the core group has the chops for it. The cellos give Gown nuance at every turn. The cellists are very tight and their versatility made for strong transitions whether by softening, swelling, or bringing a song to a dizzying frenzy.
This was a unique approach both for the music and the social issues involving toxic masculinity.
Musically Whitney and Gown confront toxic masculinity head on.
Go see them, even if it’s out of your comfort zone.
*Ed. Note: Perhaps symbolically the band members do not offer their last names on the band’s website.
It does say, "Gown is an all femmepunk hardcare metallic band made up of blood sucking druids."