Music

Brazilian Wax Bids Farewell at Ladyfest

By September 17, 2019 No Comments

By Meg Fair
Pittsburgh Current Managing Editor
meg@pittburghcurrent.com

 

“Grrrls to the front!” repeatedly commands Athena Kazuhiro at the beginning of a Brazilian Wax song of the same name, from the 2016 record Feel the Burn. The song is a perfect snapshot of Brazilian Wax: assertive, catchy, fiery. It has bite, but it’s also endlessly fun to thrash around to in a joyous explosion of movement. 

Brazilian Wax will make its ‘grrls to the front’ declaration one more time at this year’s Ladyfest, an all-ages, three-day festival that highlights women and gender-nonconforming performers and benefits the Women’s Shelter of Pittsburgh. The band is performing its final show after seven years of making delightfully bratty feminist grunge punk. 

Bassist and singer Kazuhiro and guitarist Jen Sabol founded Brazilian Wax after the two met doing roller derby together. 

“We’d be in line for drills and I’d be like, ‘Athena! Athena! Let’s start a band!’ and she’d be like ‘Yeah, whatever!’ So I kept asking her about it,” says Sabol.

But Kazuhiro did eventually agree to start the band. She was already a drummer and had performed with the band Bunny Five Coat, but with Brazilian Wax she decided to pick up the bass for the first time. It was also Sabol’s first time playing guitar in a band. A three-piece seemed like the simplest way to go, so they asked a friend to play drums. Five drummers later, Ian White has been backing Brazilian Wax for several years now. 

“We didn’t know how to play our instruments when we started the band,” laughs Sabol. “I always wanted to play guitar and after I was 15 and didn’t learn, I always thought that I wasn’t able to learn. I knew if I started playing I’d need something to keep me going, and a band is a perfect thing for that.” 

“I’d play guitar a little bit, but I’d never played bass before,” says Kazuhiro. “But since I played instruments since I was little, there’s a certain technique and musical muscle that I have because I’ve done it for so long.”

Kazuhiro’s confidence is a refreshing flip of a common narrative. A lot of women and non-men feel like there isn’t space for them in music, or that they won’t be able to learn, or it’s too late to learn. And those that aren’t kept out by this societally imposed perception are oftentimes kept down by imposter syndrome. But not Kazuhiro or Sabol.

“I have the confidence that I can do this, and no one’s gonna tell me I can’t do it,” says Kazuhiro. 

Sabol was 32 and Kazuhiro was 37 when they formed the band. “I think that’s important to talk about,” says Sabol. 

“The obsession with youth has thwarted a lot of people’s hopes and dreams because they buy into it,” says Kazuhiro. 

“I want to say that it’s super important for anyone to start a band or artistic endeavor whenever, because everyone has some type of creative thing that they need to give to the world,” adds Sabol. 

Since its inception, Brazilian Wax has toured, played festivals and released several records. They’ve played with bands they admired and gained a fervent group of followers locally and otherwise.

“We have accomplished so much,” says Kazuhiro. “I am sad and in a way I’m mourning it, but I know you go through stages in life and it’s time for [Brazilian Wax] to be done.” 

“It’s fun to look at it as a celebration,” says Sabol. 

It was a happy accident that the band’s final show aligned with Ladyfest, as Kazuhiro used to run Ladyfest and its prior iteration, Vulvapalooza. Current Ladyfest organizer Steph Flati worked with Kazuhiro’s until Kazuhiro moved back to Kentucky and Flati continued the festival. 

“Our music is all online. Our music isn’t going to go away,” says Kazuhiro, “Who knows what could happen! Look at Bikini Kill–they weren’t that popular in their time and now they are playing Riot Fest. I’m not saying we’ll play again–but you just never know what’s going to happen.” 

While the band members don’t plan to stop their own creative endeavors, Brazilian Wax’s time felt like it was naturally coming to an end. While Kazuhiro would make the trek often, living six hours away has made it harder to practice, write and play as frequently. 

The final set at Ladyfest will feature “all the hits” and some personal favorites. It’s also an opportunity to thank those who have been a part of the band’s journey.

“There’s so many people I met and so many new friendships I created from playing music that I never thought I’d make,” says Sabol. “I had no expectations of what this band was going to be, and to make lots of great friendships has been really cool.”

LADYFEST SCHEDULE: 

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

The Shop

3520 Charlotte Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15224

 

DOORS @ 6:00pm

$10 // ALL AGES

 

Spiro and the Lack-Tones

Holotypes

Ellen Siberian Tiger (Philly)

The Super Babes (Youngstown)

Tina Panic Noise (Buffalo)

♥ The Childlike Empress

♥ Century III

 

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

The Shop

3520 Charlotte Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15224

 

DOORS @ 6:00pm

$10 // ALL AGES

 

Metacara

Honey Prism

Action Camp

Ky Vöss

♥ Murder for Girls

Miss Eaves (Brooklyn)

Brazilian Wax (LAST SHOW!)

 

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Hambone’s Acoustic Brunch

4207 Butler Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15201

 

DOORS @ 10:00am

FREE! // ALL AGES

 

♥ Ej Fabiszewski

JuliAnne Wright

♥ Tales

♥ Kynzie Webb

Line On Some Trip (Brooklyn)

Erika June

♥ Timbeladies (outside)

 

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

The Shop

3520 Charlotte Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15224

 

DOORS @ 5:30pm

$10 // ALL AGES

 

Hell’s Oasis

The Real Sea

♥ The Benders

Scary Women (Lansing)

♥ Airbrake

True Dreams (Brooklyn)

Dahn ‘N’ Aht

BRAZILIAN WAX’S FINAL SHOW. Saturday, September 21. The Shop. 3520 Charlotte St.,Lawrenceville.  $10. All ages.

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