The Coathangers (photo: Estefany Gonzalez)
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once wrote “Well-behaved women seldom make history” — a quote which now appears on cups, T-shirts, and bumper stickers. If the iconic quote considers quiet women well-behaved, the roar of the Coathangers live shows are bound to write the band a place in history.
The 2018 Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival kicked off at the tail end of a three-day weekend, and there was no better way to spend what the Coathangers dubbed “Not My Presidents Day” than by being surround in a room full of a diverse concert-goers at gig that featured a plethora of talented bands including Feels, The Flytraps, and Death Valley Girls.
Last year, I told you the Atlanta trio are loud, uncut, and bring a party to each stage they play, regardless of the size of the venue. Over the years, the Coathangers have played in the Bay Area countless times: the Great American, small intimate places like the Arlene Francis Center, and who could forget the band’s set at Phono Del Sol last year?
During live performances, the band is a force to be reckoned with. Julia Kugel (Crook Kid Coathanger) shreds on guitar with a fiery passion, Stephanie Luke (Rusty Coathanger) bangs on the drums with powerful force, and Meredith Franco (Minnie Coathanger) holds down the band’s energetic beats on the bass.
I caught up with the band before the show, and while the Coathangers write bold songs, encompass a raw punk-rock energy contagious enough to spark mosh pits, and have no problem speaking out against injustice, the group are some of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Green room hangs are full of laughs, pop-up rehearsals, and in our case, a chat about Polaroids and a mutual love of hula hoops.
It’s these little details behind the scenes that also appear on stage too. Toward the end of the show, after the band took a moment to say they love everyone regardless of sex, race, or biology, I realized just how contagious band’s closeness and off-stage chemistry can be. As the crowd chanted for the band and I spotted people dancing with reckless abandon, I couldn’t help but think, Who want’s to be well-behaved anyway?’
The beauty of the band’s sets is there isn’t just one voice behind the lyrics, because the members often trade places on stage. Each person has a moment to harmonize, sing the lead, or swap instruments and really, wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all too took the time to learn each others’ instrument?