Flavia Celebrates Her EP “Suck My Feminism” At Resident LA
LOS ANGELES, CA- I remember when I stumbled upon Flavia’s music for the first time. I was covering L.A. Pride in 2019 when decided to leave the main stage photo pit for a spell to check out one of the side stages that had been organized. I had no idea who the scheduled performers were, but when I arrived at one of the stages, I was immediately drawn into Flavia’s performance. The performance was fearless and fun; full of an inordinate amount of attitude and confidence that belies attention.
Since that performance, I had been hoping to catch Flavia on stage again. Scheduling conflicts and the pandemic had prevented me from doing so, but I’ve been paying attention to her musical output since that music festival, and I’ve been enjoying every bit of it; watching her evolve as a musician and as a human being. When I found out that she would be moving out of Los Angeles and moving to Paris, my heart sunk. It appeared as if it would be a little more difficult to see this star on stage.
What I’ve been particularly drawn to is the way Flavia tackles subject matter that’s often (or at least has been) viewed as taboo. Her single “Them” tackled her own personal lack of understanding of the trans-community. When she released her single “Nameless” earlier this year, we got a really personal glimpse into Flavia’s life as she sings emotionally about the impact of having an abortion on her life. Her interview with family and the recording artist Bianco published on Rival Magazine dives even deeper into the topic. But don’t get the wrong impression… her music is also ridiculously fun (just listen to “Eat”). Whether the messages are backed by frenetic beats or subtle instrumentals, her ability to express herself, whether in unbridled ecstasy or restrained sorrow, has always shone through.
When I found out that Flavia would be performing at Resident in downtown Los Angeles, I made it a point to clear the date in my calendar. This would be Flavia’s last Los Angeles performance before relocating across the Atlantic, plus it would be an opportunity for Flavia to celebrate the release of her latest EP, Suck My Feminism. It would not be missed.
The first artist to hit the stage was Lea Cappelli p/k/a/ “L’FREAQ” and I was impressed. L’FREAQ is a seasoned performer. As a member of the Las Vegas show “27”, channeling the spirit, and voice, of Amy Winehouse, it was clear that L’FREAQ knew how to command the stage and capture an audience’s attention. Her essence was sultry as she navigated the stage while her hands sensually danced around her body as she cooed or belted out melodies. Her stage presence was entrancing.
Like Flavia, L’FREAQ was celebrating the release of her sophomore EP, Showgirl, which was released September 23, 2021, via Position Music. The EP really showcases L’FREAQ’s powerful vocals. Her chest voice is really on display throughout all 5 tracks, and when she belts out the hooks (like on “Take You Down”) it’s hard not to make an approving stank face. While Lea has certainly gained some notoriety for her faithful stage portrayal of Amy Winehouse, that comparison is hardly noticeable throughout this collection of songs. If there was one song that maybe comes has a little hint of Amy, it’s the opening track “Gimmick”, which has just a touch of that Amy phrasing/drawl in the verses.
For the performance, I thought L’FREAQ nailed her vocals. Backed by synths, a drummer, and the occasional mini-horn section, she faithfully presented the bold vocals that are embodied on her EP. While her EP doesn’t have a “slow jam”, she added one to her set; a sexy, downtempo cover of Brittany Spears’ “Toxic”. With the house lights dimmed to match the mood, you could feel the temperature in the room rising.
This was my first time hearing or seeing L’FREAQ perform her music live, and I thought her first impression was solid. A very capable singer, with a captivating presence on stage, is all that I need to get me interested. I’m interested.
The next artist to step onto the stage was Cami Petyn. Though I had never heard of her before this evening, I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority because her popularity as a YouTube personality is huge. I mean, 505K YouTube subscribers (as of October 2021) is pretty damn impressive.
Cami’s performance was as fun and carefree as her YouTube video blogs. Cami had recently released a new single titled “Psycho Bitch”, and she had those words emblazoned on the back of her artistically decorated long coat. Her musical style was a bit pop/punk with a splash of alt mixed in. Like L’FREAQ, she also did a cover of Brittany Spears’ “Toxic”, but hers was a rock & roll version of the song.
Perhaps the most impressive part of her set was her emotional performance of a song I think is called “All My Friends Keep Dying of Drugs” (I have a feeling that this song hasn’t been released yet). Clearly, she was singing to something personal that she’s had to deal with, and it was the performance of this song that really left an impression on me. It revealed a softer, and more tender side to this social media personality. While I haven’t watched all of her YouTube videos, she generally comes across as a perpetually cheery individual. This performance really added a layer of humanity to that persona I gleaned from YouTube.
While Cami’s music career is really only just beginning, it will be interesting to keep an eye on how it grows, especially with her already built-in fan base.
Suck My Feminism is a 5 song EP that slaps. The production value and instrumental arrangements of each of the recordings are adventurous and it really sounds like Flavia took musical risks to create sonic contrasts that highlight changes in mood and messaging. The sharp shifts of dynamics in a song like “Time Is Running Out” are done with purpose and are undeniably memorable. Of the EP, Flavia posted on social media that:
“This EP was uncomfortable to release every step of the way. But Suck My Feminism wasn’t made to be comfortable. My hope is that it will be healing for some, empower others, and help create a higher level of understanding and respect. Suck My Feminism is about female sexual liberation, it’s about my body and a woman’s right to choose, it’s about loss, about women getting to say whatever the fuck they want in their music, knowing your worth, speaking out, and standing up for ourselves, oh and uh worshipping and respecting the bodies that literally bring humans into this world. I hope this will help make a difference.”
When Flavia took the stage, her friends and fans were all packed up at the front of the stage giddy with excitement. She kicked off her ten-song set with the opening tracks off Suck My Feminism (the titled track, and “Ripe”). She clicked up the excitement when she had Blimes, a rapper who has been co-signed by Method Man, join her on stage for her verse on “Suck My Feminism”. She performed all of the songs from the new EP, and also all four of the tracks of her prior EP, Out Loud (“Switch”, “Them”, “Blue”, “Gay For A Day”) and one song that I wasn’t familiar with, “I Am Sin”.
It was such a pleasure catching Flavia perform at Resident. It may have taken me a couple of years since that fateful day that I stumbled upon her L.A. Pride set, but it was well worth the wait. Her “pop with purpose” had the room welling with a plethora of emotions. Joy… sass… longing… sexuality… doubt… every emotion. If you ever hear someone say that “pop has no substance”, you could win your argument by simply forwarding a link to Flavia’s latest album.
When she had finished her set, I felt a mix of emotions. Though I only know her casually from my coverage of her on Blurred Culture, I really felt like I knew her because I saw how her music and her purpose have evolved over the years. I was sad that she would be leaving Los Angeles and regretted the fact that it wouldn’t be as easy to catch her live performances going forward… but I was also excited at the prospect of how the direction music will keep evolving in a new surrounding. I have a feeling that her creativity and perspective will yield glorious results.
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