December 2, 2016 - San Francisco, CA
Sad Girl Justice
What was your chatroom username back in the day? Maybe you went with a super chill CODchick123, or perhaps a more badass Sk8erboiAnarchy365 . . .
In the case of this sugar-punk rock group, it's Sad13.
It's December 2nd and Sadie Dupuis of the band Speedy Ortiz, previously hosted by Pressuredrop.tv here, is about to perform a livestream in their Secret Bunker.
Pressure drop.tv is an unconventional music organization that finds new and original artists to livestream in offbeat places – specifically chosen for the artist's sound.
The creator of Sad13, Sadie Dupuis – rocking glitter eyeshadow and big hair scrunchies on her wrist – begins the set with mistakes. She cues the computer beat and out comes a brief – Boom Bah CUT. She apologizes and jokes, "That was our first song." She tries again -- Boom Bah CUT -- the same musical mishap, twice. "That was our second song." The other members are relaxed, they seem unfazed and chuckle at the singer. If "three times a charm" has any validity at all, this should be the try that triggers the music.
And it does! The song erupts in an upbeat melody while Sadie claps her hands into the mic and loops the sound. I immediately think to dub their music "pop," but that would be selling it short. The song is intriguing in the way that it moves and transforms. It oscillates between happy and predictable then dips down to a sharp, uncomfortable center – like a lollipop from one too many licks.
Dupuis's ultra-girly voice is susceptible to flashes of hysteria, the guitar unabashedly scratches away at discordant riffs, and the lyrics fearlessly drop this sort of message:
"I say yes to the dress when I put it on/ I say yes if I want you to take it off."
"You still wanna lick my asshole, man."
There's no mistaking Sad13 for your typical top 40 pop-band.
The easy-on-the-ears synth guitar and sickly sweet vocals gives the music a sort of "I want to be popular, pretty, glamorous and wanted," feel. But it seems things always go amuck; the drums have a thrash attack, the synth gets bitter and spits at your ears, that pretty-girl voice convulses and the whole damn facade falls apart.
No one ever said being yourself was easy, and Sad13 is musical proof of that.
The bunker is decked out with dangling, dim lights, colorful streamers and dark punk posters on the walls; there couldn't be a set more fitting for this band. As I watch them play, I can't help but feel I'm witnessing a bunch of prom queens toss out their tiaras and go completely mad together, in the privacy of their basement hangout spot.
It's almost like they are performing their diaries – maybe in some alternate reality, to avoid people's stares. I take a look at the guitarist sporting some VR looking sunglasses and my hypothesis feels even more concrete.
They may be regular, fleshy humans, chalk full of normalities in real life, but when they are united, they are a k(l)ickass team of chatroom super heroes, using their instruments of choice to fight for sad girl justice.
Their livestream is short and sweet, just 20 minutes, but they get their point across – Don't mess with my heart or my head, I'm not what you expect.
"Thank you," the lead singer squeals delightedly. "Sad13. So happy! So tacos!" They all laugh with some sort of taco-fueled, superhero wisdom and strip themselves of their weapons.
- Nikki Zambon