Women of the Under-ground Heavy MTL Music Scene

Liberation is what women demanded during the first Riot Grrrl movement, which was the third-wave of feminism considered its starting point, empowerment was used back then, but recently the term is being used more and more in the modern feminist scene.  Montreal’s underground heavy music scene has been home to incredible musicians and movements alike, within the past couple years, a revival of the 90’s heavy music, feminist movement referred to as The Riot Grrrl Movement has been making a return. We have had The Asexuals, the bassist of the Smashing Pumpkins and Hole Melissa Auf De Mur, The Nils, and The Kingpins who have all come from Quebec and the Montreal area, The Nils actually practice at the same space my old lady-fronted, band, Pussy Stench used to practice at.

The Riot Grrrl movement was a 1990’s, third-wave feminist, punk collective that lived through woman-fronted bands, DIY zines, art, writing and articles and protests.  It hit Washington, Olympia the hardest, but impacted much further.  The movement birthed bands like Bikini Kill, whose vocalist Kathleen Hannah, was an avid feminist activist and writer, there was the X-Ray Specs, with front woman Poly Styrene, another avid voice in the feminist scene.

Within the last couple years, lady-fronted punk, metal, ska, grunge and rock bands have been popping up more and more in the local underground scene, these groups have been planning shows exclusively featuring other lady-fronted bands and bringing awareness to this new movement in a male-dominated scene.

Over the past two years, two of my lady friends who are involved in the heavy music scene planned a couple all-lady-fronted-band shows, because we could all feel the tension on the streets and the fear that the word “empowerment” sparked in the eyes of the opposite sex .  Kayla Brooke, 25, avid feminist and make-up artist as well as the vocalist of GBLNSHRK (GoblinShark), organized the most recent show at La Vitrola on March 2nd of 2017. The Feminist Zine Release Show had lady-fronted bands GBLNSHRK, Pussy Stench (my old punk band), and the 3 & ½’s (my current project) play that night, Kayla also sold her Zine titled “Feminist Propoganda”.  October 8th 2016 at The Wiggle Room, a burlesque venue on St. Laurent, a Riot Girls Burlesque event was held, my friend and fellow feminist, Jacki Sugar Vixen, was involved in the show.  These are just the musical ladies fronting the new-wave movement…

Recently, a young lady by the name of Claudia Cavaliere posted a status on her Facebook page concerning a hot topic, breastfeeding; “Why is public breastfeeding “gross”? It’s because her nipples are out isn’t it? Well guess what? It’s time to grow up as a society. Today there are numerous ads displayed in public spaces or posted on social media that expose the female body. In fact, we often encourage it. We live in a society where we push women to embrace their bodies yet cannot even accept the most natural aspect of the female body.” The post was shared and liked away at, and the message was sent.  Little acts and DIY-events like these are what’s been happening, with more and more support from the community than ever before.  Although these are chips off the base of internalized misogyny in our society, these are the starting acts of a long overdue revolution for equal human rights, not only encompassing feminism, but all humans.


This paper isn’t really on feminism. It’s on basic human rights and bringing to light that women should not be afraid to be their own boss in their artistic field of work in the underground scene. Recently, the word ‘empowerment’ has been highly misinterpreted within the mini-movement.  Looking for a definition on the word “liberation”, I easily find many; “Freedom from limits on thought and behavior” from googles main definition display and many others like it through-out the links below.  Looking up the word “empowerment”, you easily find definitions like this one off of unreportable Urban Dictionary; “Someone (usually a feminist middleclass white woman who wasted her education in worthless nonsense) having the power to eat her cake and keep it, too.”  Arrogant attitudes and forceful presentation of the idea is the new war in modern-day feminism.  All people, let alone women, have the right to feel liberated and/or empowered, because the ‘true’ definition of empowerment is “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights” (off of Google’s search engine definition).




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