Published by JB on 8/19/2019
Review by Renee Schaefer
Pussy is power. Seattle’s Thunderpussy made their Twin Cities debut Saturday night at the Turf Club in St. Paul. The band has been generating headlines both for their music and for an ongoing fight to trademark their name that hinges on the recently decided “Iancu v. Brunetti” Supreme Court case. The headlines alone may have drawn some curious music fans to the Turf Club on a warm summer evening, but Thunderpussy thoroughly impressed all with their musicianship and performance.
Guitarist Whitney Petty was the first to take the stage at audience left. Wearing sparkling dark grey bell bottoms and a red ruffled top to go with her yellow Gibson Les Paul, she grabbed a violin bow, like Jimmy Page before her, and kicked off the set with a mesmerizing solo, building anticipation for the rest of the band’s entrance. It quickly became apparent that Petty can shred, and with the level of skill and precision she demonstrated throughout the evening, she could easily best Page in a guitar duel, all while high kicking. Joining Petty on stage were her bandmates Leah Julius on bass, recent addition Lindsey Elias on drums, and lastly singer Molly Sides.
Sides, who is also a dancer and choreographer, owned the center of the stage, backbending, high kicking, and playing off all three of her bandmates and the crowd. This wasn’t all for show—Thunderpussy was extremely tight yet also looked like they were having the time of their lives. Classic rock influences peak through Thunderpussy’s sound and they paid tribute to some greats who came before, playing a cover Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” mid-set that they made their own and a spot on cover of The Great Society/Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” during the encore.
Genuinely and pleasantly surprised at the turnout and the warm welcome, Sides, who had family in the audience, noted, “I feel like we just came home or something.” The crowd clearly came prepared to rock, with heads bobbing and fists raised all the way to the back of the main floor throughout the set.
Between songs, Sides paused for the occasional Pussy Service Announcement (PSA), but did so in a way that didn’t feel preachy. “Pussy is always powerful and it’s always a service announcement.” The first PSA came a few songs into the set. Sides had gently grabbed and pushed down the phone of someone near the front (twice), and then took the opportunity at the break to encourage the crowd to be present and leave the outside “out there” while everyone was together inside. Themes of the evening also included the power of face to face interactions and treating each other with generosity, because “that is how we all grow.” At one point, Sides even instructed the audience to shake hands with a neighbor in the crowd and, most importantly, learn their name.
The set was blistering and the encore ended with an extended version of “Thunderpussy,” with Sides ending up deep in the crowd and Petty and Julius lying on the stage. It was a fitting end to a raucous, yet empowering evening.
Openers were locals Annie and the Bang Bang and Seaberg & the Black Velvet Punks.