Rebecca Riots - Live at the Freight and Salvage

Live at the Freight & Salvage

Rebecca Riots

Trust Fall Records

Rebecca Riots
P.O. Box 3536
Berkeley, CA 94703

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By David Schultz

Rebecca Riots is a trio of females-- Eve Decker (vocals and rhythm guitar), Andrea Pritchett (vocals and harmonica), and Lisa Zeiler (vocals, lead & rhythm guitar)-- who perform acoustic folk music with a typically feminist message. All three share the songwriting credits. Their music, however, rather than being dismal and angry, is resolute with the uplift of hope.

Their name derives from actual events in South Wales during 1843 when groups of people known as the Rebeccas would go out under cover of night to dismantle oppressively imposed tollgates. The Rebeccas, named after a matriarch from the Old Testament, were nonvolient, but determined. They were ultimately squashed by the British government, who sent in troops to preserve the tollgates. The ensuing conflicts were termed the Rebecca Riots. Zeiler and Pritchett chose the name because it suggests grassroots, nonviolent, women-identified activism that is characteristic of the band's music.

Live was recorded June 6, 1998 at the legendary Berkley venue Freight & Salvage. This was no typical concert. The band was preparing to launch their first national tour. That emotions were running high is a given. For example, the opening song is introduced as a song about living in the moment, asking the important question "Is that all there is? We're not rehearsing for anything." This self-introspective song about not taking life so seriously and allowing mistakes to happen as part of life is a particularly apt choice, given the environment that night.

Dumpster Diver is named after a girlfriend who brings home men that are subpar. It's not very often that you hear this perspective on the dating scene. No Wings is an upbeat song about overcoming adversity. The catchy uplifting chorus proclaims:

I'm no angel, I have no wings.
I cannot fly through this life.
I must walk step by step,
Take humiliation with the strife.
I do not like to fear,
But it's what I've been given.
I do not like to fear,
But it's the mountain I must climb.

After the final strums, the audience erupts in applause, clearly showing that I'm not the only one attracted to this anthemic gem.

The CD closes with I Got a Heart, another upbeat number with Pritchett providing terrific harmonica accompaniment.

The album instrumentation is sparse, featuring only the three, plus an occasional bass-guitar backbeat. The comparisons with the Indigo Girls are obvious, so IG fans looking for the next big thing should find Rebecca Riots a great new discovery that will complement their record collection.

Edited by Mark J. O'Donnell

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society and David Schultz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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