Gig review – International Women’s Day gig at Firebug, Wednesday 8th March 2023

Most of the bands with Ruth Miller. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

with Belladonna, Ruby River, Pretty Dirty Rats, Peri Peri Women, Boilers, Caroline McLavy, Virginia’s Wolves, Wonky Portraits, Dada Women, Glitch Magnet, Venus Attax, Velvet Crisis and The Verinos

Organised by Unglamorous

Reviewed by Imogen Cresswell

International Woman’s Day – A day to reflect on the commitment and incredible acts women in history have done to provide us with great women today. We use this day to show respect and support for women in STEM, creative arts, and of course the music industry! Firebug hosted an incredible all-women event in which downstairs was packed out entirely by those of all genders, to gaze upon the amazing work of our women in music.

Pretty Dirty Rats. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

There was even a German TV company in the house to capture the talent of our Leicestershire ladies.
The night had three parts: new bands playing their debut gig, solo acts, and the more experienced bands. This really emphasised the inclusivity of the night and cast a no-judgement atmosphere.
Kicking off the first third of the night were Belladonna, Ruby River, Pretty Dirty Rats, Peri Peri Women and Boilers.

Peri Peri Women. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

All these bands stepped up on stage and debuted their music for the first time ever.

I was impressed, the song writing from some of these bands were so creative and engaging, such as Ruby River writing a song about the walrus that washed up in Scarborough. The punky tones were a clear message of the strength that these women possess, in which Boilers stood out the most for me in this instance.

I cannot forget to comment on presentation, in which all these women looked amazing and empowered.

Boilers. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

In the solo acts, we had Caroline McLavy, who proved women don’t always need to choose punk to stand out. She came on stage and showcased an electronic pop concoction that gave some good variety to the set.

Caroline McLavy. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Caroline has been known to represent Leicester and support other musicians through her work at Stayfree rehearsal studios, so it was exciting to see her onstage having that support returned to her. She was a wonderful addition to the set and I’m glad to see her representing women as a solo artist.

Virginia’s Wolves. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

The final section of the gig consisted of Virginia’s Wolves, Wonky Portraits, Dada Women, Glitch Magnet, Venus Attax, Velvet Crisis, and The Verinos. This is where the more experienced bands get to show us what women are made of when they work on a project they are passionate about for a long enough time. And let me tell you these women did NOT disappoint.


Most of the bands with Ruth Miller (front). Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Virginia’s Wolves saw a huge response from the crowd – every statement, every message landed, followed by applause, the crowd chanting back, and laughter when something maybe a bit too relatable was said. They continued the punk vibes into the evening, followed by Wonky Portraits and Dada Women. These two bands brought a more indie rock/punk flavour to the night, and kept the crowd engaged, once more showing the diversity Leicester women have to offer.

Dada Women. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Glitch Magnet were next, and they really did kick it up a notch when they introduced effects pedals into their music to fit the noisecore genre. I was very pleased to see the depth of understanding from this band on music equipment to give their songs more body. These women took basic, threw it in the bin, and replaced it with advanced, making them good role models for the new bands.

Dada Women. Photo (c) Kevin Gaughan

Venus Attax, Velvet Crisis and the Verinos rounded the night off with their expertise and strong messages on why women are just as good as everyone else.

All the bands represented all kinds of women: white, black, young, mature, experienced, first-timers. There was no discrimination, just unity. It was a wonderful night for the bands and everyone there supporting.

Thank you Firebug for hosting this event, and thank you to all the individuals from Leicester and beyond who made their way during the midweek to appreciate our talent.

If you would like to share this review, please help us by using the share buttons below instead of a screen print – thanks!