Big Joanie- Dream Number 9
Big Joanie are a punk trio from London, UK.
They began as guitarist Steph’s home demos. Eventually, when it came to the idea of playing them live, she wanted her band to be all black women.
Steph wrote this piece last year about racism in punk, which was unfortunately (and non-surprisingly) met with a slew of negative feedback. It was followed up with this entry (on her spectacular blog Don’t Dance Her Down Boys) as to why that reaction highlighted the need to put this band together.
The addition of Chardine (drums/vocals) and Kiera (bass/vocals) came together last summer, with the aim to play a First Timers gig- a mini festival of sorts that asks anybody and everybody to try their hand at starting a band.
Big Joanie accomplished this goal of course, and have been playing live ever since.
I had the absolute joy of experiencing them for the first time this past weekend at WOWZERS festival.
They describe themselves as “The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY” which is most fitting. Their guitar sound also had me reminiscent of both Pixies AND The Breeders, which appears to be a fare comparison as they’ve covered both. A very fun live treat came in the form of their rendition of TLC’s classic “No Scrubs”, which had much of the crowd singing along.
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to talk solely about their unique take on other people’s material. Their original content is very promising, and although they are still young in band years, they are clearly putting the work in. They appear to have a clear vision of what they would like to do with this project, and the results are instantly likeable. This song in particular was one of my highlights so I’m happy to find the demo. It features a back and forth vocal between Steph and Kiera.
I also feel it’s something to be said about the energy this band portrayed on stage. I don’t mean in a way that they were throwing their instruments about or jumping around, more that they all seemed so radiant. They have a strong message that they want to bring out, but they do so in their own way. They were full of smiles and it reflected back from the crowd. Their music is where their power lies, and in creating such a positive environment perhaps the listener will pay more attention. I am really looking forward to seeing what else they will do.