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LIVE REPORT: Dream Wife at Heaven
Ella Braidwood , March 23rd, 2018 07:21

Dream Wife's sellout show at Heaven: shredding, screaming, and showing some respect to the bad bitches.

Photo by Maria Jefferis

“Guys, I need you to show some respect to the bad bitches and move the fuck away,” says Dream Wife’s Rakel Mjöll. The lead singer is midway through the band’s sold-out show at Heaven, and isn’t continuing until “all the bad bitches” – meaning, she clarifies, all female-identifying people in the room – “come to the front and take your space”. One lone man refuses to leave, so the Icelandic singer politely asks security to escort him away. Once Mjöll is satisfied that the front of the audience is predominantly female, barring the odd awkward-looking boyfriend, the band launch into ‘Somebody’ – a punk rock anthem about women taking back control over their bodies. The result? Women, bolstered by the safe environment Mjöll has created, jump freely to Alice Go’s shredding guitar and shout the song’s refrain: “I am not my body / I am somebody.”

This moment epitomises Dream Wife’s show – a celebration of women and of the band’s achievements since releasing their debut album in January. Go strides around the left hand side of the stage, her face beaming with a smile for most of the evening; Bella Podpadec plays bass with such intensity that she looks close to passing out on multiple occasions. Mjöll, meanwhile, slowly meanders around, cryptically waving her arms, frequently coming to the front to loom over the audience. The band’s quietest song, ‘Love Without Reason’, shows off her voice – Mjöll can sing. It should be stated, clearly: Dream Wife are cool. Really cool.

They are certainly rough around the edges - technical issues hamper the start of the set, particularly for Podpadec on bass, and the guitar playing could also be tightened up - but any imperfections truly add to the band’s charm. They sound better because they are unpolished (they are punk rock, after all).

Towards the close of the set, Mjöll speaks to the audience about sexual abuse within the music industry. “The gig environment, it’s so important to keep as a safe space,” she says, adding how women should be able to “do what the fuck you want without having anyone harass you”. At the end of the show, complete with mosh pits and stage dives, Mjöll thanks women in the audience for taking up their space, letting tens of them get up on stage during final song ‘F.U.U.’. Thank you, Dream Wife, for taking up yours. In an era of #TimesUp, #MeToo, Harvey Weinstein, and a misogynist in the White House, Dream Wife are leading the attack on sexism in guitar music. And it’s about time.

Dream Wife are touring - details here.