Fan Girl Cafe Celebrates Women In Music With Stellar Lineup At The Troubadour Kat Cunning, Jax, Trace, Alicia Blue, KingQueen and Noah Vonne Grace The Troubadour Stage
LOS ANGELES, CA- It’s a well-known fact that many industries in entertainment tend to be male-dominated. Women and female-identifying individuals have had to withstand the music, recording, and film industries with a chip on their shoulder, knowing they had to prove their worth and play their instruments just as good – or even better – than their male counterparts.
This is why the creation of a space for female, queer, and women musicians and artists in the community is so important. As a female musician myself, I have long been in spaces where my skills as a guitarist were never taken seriously – it was “cute” and I was always asked, “Do you sing, too?”
Fan Girl Cafe, hosted by on-air personality Megan Holiday of KROQ and drummer/podcast host Jess Bowen (The Summer Set, Tessa Violet, Babes Behind the Beats), was a special night held last Sunday, February 27th at the famed Troubadour in West Hollywood. Created by concert photographer Betsy Martinez and her partner Cynthia in an effort to bring together a space for women+ to get together, Fan Girl Cafe will make a home in West Hollywood as a new music-oriented neighborhood cafe and wine bar to support women in music in the community.
Of the evening, Ms. Martinez told Blurred Culture:
“We have been overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback from our first event. It was a lot of hard work but beyond worth it. Fan Girl Cafe aims to uplift and celebrate women in music and arts by bringing people together to connect and essentially “fan girl” out together and I think our event really showed how much a place like this is needed. There was so much support in the room, not only for us as an emerging small business, but artists were supporting each other, many of whom hadn’t met before and taking time to connect with fans. We keep reading that for many attendees, it was their first time seeing or hearing some of the artists on the bill and it truly makes us happy to introduce others to artists we love. We hope to continue building this community of like-minded music fanatics and artists. It was really important for us to have a photo exhibit because many times photographers don’t get the credit they deserve or most often their work is only seen on a phone screen. It was really cool to see fellow photographers that I’ve bonded with over the years, displaying their work and getting a chance to really be proud of their art. The night was very special, as so many of our friends, family, and favorite artists came out to support us and we are happy to say that we will host more events, as we continue working hard to find our perfect space for the cafe. One thing you can count on- we won’t stop until we find it!”
The night started at 7 pm with Noah Vonne, who opened the night with her soulful country folk and blues-leaning ballads. “Love Move,” currently her most-streamed single on Spotify, oozes with the pure gospel, soul, and her infectious country-leaning vocals as a Texas-bred singer-songwriter.
Though Noah is a relatively new artist on the L.A. scene, she commanded the stage with a big presence. Her sparkly jumpsuit notwithstanding, she glowed with an undeniable cheer and energy that made her performance quite engaging and enjoyable. Jess Bowen pulled double duty on this night as she was backing Noah up on drums for this gig.
LA-based indie rock outfit KingQueen headed onstage next and knew how to get the crowd moving with their fun, catchy guitar licks, keys, and a groovy drum and bass section. Their frontwoman, Ina, kicked the energy room up several notches, and she fed off the room’s energy, especially when she got the room to throw hand-horns up into the air. Theirs is a sound that brings back some of that 80s rock flare, with their modern flares of course, and it had the room rocking out to their catchy tunes.
Singer-songwriter Alicia Blue debuted new material with a full live band that impressed. I had previously seen Alicia sing her country-folk-leaning tunes in a stripped-down acoustic atmosphere prior, that seeing her songs with a full band was moving and, at times, emotional. Her unreleased song “Picasso Blue” oozed with pure indie rock as she sang, “I don’t wanna live in Picasso’s blue anymore.” Her song “Don’t Tell Me To Smile” was a cheeky indie-rock crooner as she reflected, “I’m a real thing if you wanna be with me, just know that sometimes the sun ain’t gonna shine.” Most notably, she reflected on co-writing a song with John Paul White of The Civil Wars and debuted a beautiful, swamp-like ballad where she sang, “Time flies when you’re having fun / Change is coming (?) and I don’t wanna stay young.”
TRACE is a pop/R&B-leaning “sad girl music” artist who released her first 4-track EP in 2016 and has since then garnered a supportive following who leans on her for being so open and candid about her mental well-being and mental illness. With synth-pop tracks, a drummer, and a guitarist, she entered the stage oozing with a carefree chill as she ruminated over her lyrics and mentioned how much love she felt in the room. Her songs like “Honey” feel just like that – buttery soft vocals over simple ballad-like piano chords and drumbeats. “Heavy Shoulders” offer up catchy R&B-tinged beats, drum kits, and synths. She closed with her biggest single to date “Low,” restarting the song when it went on because she “felt too much love” and got lost in the moment. It was endearing and purely TRACE.
TikTok superstar Jax came on stage with all her buoyant energy, excitement, infectious charisma, and charm to her upbeat pop-leaning songs. As a songwriter by trade, she mentioned she began to post and record videos to TikTok to get her songwriting fuel out of her – and to this date has made history. She creates fun pop anthems like “90s Kids” that feels like an anthem for all us 90s kids. Her parody-like pop songs like “One of the Boys” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” were incredibly entertaining and fun. She donned a t-shirt with Fan Girl Cafe host Jess Bown plastered on the front and sang a fun five-song mash-up with covers of songs like “Toxic,” “No Diggity” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song.
Headliner and Miami-based artist Kat Cunning closed the night off with a stellar performance that literally put me in awe. Donning a black cape, bustier, guitarist Kelly with an electronic backtrack and, later, two backup dancers, just wowed. The dark-pop vocalist had powerhouse vocals to catchy songs like “Supernova” and “King of Shadow,” songs they mentioned had been featured in Netflix’s Trinkets. Their beautiful ballad-like song “Birds” highlighted their strong vocals. Songs like “Boys,” which they introduced as one to highlight the theme of the night, were pure fun as she told the crowd that was slowly lingering out, “That’s the energy.” A pure performer and presence onstage, Kat was a powerhouse delight as their anthemic alternative pop singles had a particular soul that Kat’s vocals were able to embody. They were reminiscent of artists like Halsey and Meg Myers, but offered their own love and support to the room in their own way.
The night, as a celebration to live music and female artists, also showcased some photography from the Fan Girl Cafe family’s contributing concert photographers, with photos up for auction featuring headliners and artists like Warpaint’s Jennylee, Miley Cyrus, Kacey Musgraves, Lauren Ruth Ward, and more.
Fan Girl Cafe’s event was an exciting night for the community that only marks the beginning. To have a space that supports women in all spheres – the hard rockers, indie rockers, pop-rockers, female vocalists, girl bands, and rebel girls – is exciting in and of itself.
As Kat Cunning mentioned themself, “There is a dying outlet for female/queer bars across the nation.” With the limited amount of spaces to allow females of all to get together and support each other, the Fan Girl Cafe’s mission rings strong.
Support the Fan Girl Cafe’s cause by donating or keeping in the know of their upcoming showcases and more here.
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