Premiere: GLITORIS – THE SLUT POWER SESSIONS – LIVE AT THE BASEMENT (BUTTERCUP RECORDS, 2020)

Words: James Frostick
Band image: Martin Ollman

Heralding the beginning of a rebuild for much of Australia’s music scene, Canberra-based punk four-piece Glitoris is releasing a live album filled end-to-end with scorching, apoplectic and unapologetic sonic pummelers. The Slut Power Sessions – Live at The Basement is more than just a scintillating recorded set of Glitoris’ greatest hits (so far), it’s a reminder of the band’s vital middle-finger-to-the-patriarchy ethos and the enlivening nature of the unadulterated live music spectacle.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard the cheers that typically follow the end of a live-music set. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a gig at all  – I’m still trying to shake the discomfort of being a part of a crowd. While admittedly Meanjin/Brisbane’s concert scene is bouncing back quickly in the wake of the pandemic-induced lockdowns, band rooms down south are still eerily quiet (though hopefully not for much longer). Back in June a crowd of rowdy punters (affectionately dubbed ‘The Gliterati’) crammed into The Basement in Canberra to catch Glitoris at its fiery best. Three months prior the band was forced to cancel what was shaping up to be its largest national tour – one that would have taken the four-piece from Tasmania to the tip of the Northern Territory and just about everywhere in between. It’s safe to say that by the time the band loaded its gear into The Basement in June and tuned its instruments, the foursome were itching to tear the room a new one  – not once, but twice. That month the group fired off two vociferous sets that featured a hit list of the group’s signature baleful politically-charged anthems (performed with their infamous breakneck intensity), but there was also an added dose of pent-up frustration stirred into the mix, to be sure.

These two COVID-era sets were recorded and mixed for The Slut Power Sessions – Live at The Basement, a mini-LP that encapsulates both Glitoris’ progressive punk brilliance and the stirring ecstasy of their room-filling live presence. The Slut Power Sessions – Live at The Basement does what many live records try and fail to do – capture and convey the frenetic energy of a live performance. For any free-wheeling punk band, it’s like actively trying to capture lightning in a bottle: incredibly hard to do, but unspeakably worthwhile if successful. Across a tight set of seven songs, Glitoris take us on a whirlwind tour of its barbed and jagged sound – from speed-punk blitz to menacing squall, all accentuated with on-point theatricality. The record sounds loud, too – devoid of the tinny low-fidelity fuzz of haphazard set captures. Much of the setlist features on Glitoris’ killer record The Policy, with each live rendition reinforcing the record’s magic for those that forgot. From the wiry noodle of opener ‘Warriors’ and the haywire tumult of ‘Trump Card’ to the menacing grind of ‘Slut Power’ and the crunching plod of The Policy’s title track, each number makes me wish I was getting sweaty in the front row. It’s also a timely reminder of Glitoris’ unapologetic rebuke of society’s antiquated structures. The group rightly savage the patriarchy and its perpetual bullshit and call out oppressive methods of law enforcement, but in their rage Glitoris also reinforce the need for feminist unity and reiterate the importance of seeking equality and empowerment in all areas. You might scoff at the notion that a live LP can carry that much impact, but then you’ve probably never witnessed Glitoris in person. Until the band is able to cruise through our towns once more, this recording is a mighty fine substitute.

Listen to The Slut Power Sessions – Live at The Basement in full here:

The Slut Power Sessions – Live at The Basement is officially released on Friday October 30 though Buttercup Records.