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Tacocat, Electric Circus, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live


I was ecstatic about attending this gig, Tacocat have been known to put on an awesome show and had recently become my favourite band when I reviewed their new album Lost Time (here). Interviewing the band beforehand was a great privilege and by the end of it I couldn’t wait to see them get up on stage.

The first support band was Thrash-Pop solo act, Garden Of Elks. He referred to himself as us and we, making me think that there were other members of the band that couldn’t make it so he had to make do with a backing track and loop pedal. It soon became apparent that Garden Of Elks really was just this one guy which was rather impressive. Although he wouldn’t have been my choice as support for this gig, he was talented with a good voice and definitely had a way with the crowd though I never managed to catch any of the song names.

Up next were Girls Rock School graduates Tongue Trap with their own brand of Riot Grrrl tinged grunge-rock. Previously called Taco Tuesday, they have a theme song of the same name which they still play. It’s obvious there are some fans in the house as you can hear a few people singing along to the chorus “It’s taco Tuesday and it’s all you can eat!” with great enthusiasm. Guitarist Kim and bassist Emma’s voices have a Jessicka Addams quality to them; both have great range and can go from super light vocals to raging screams in a split second.

Their vocal abilities are shown of well again on their cover of 'Oblivion' by Grimes which I think could arguably be better than the real thing. Announcing that they chose to cover this song because of the content (sexual assault) and their belief that this is an important issue that should be discussed, the audience obviously agrees. It’s not surprising that they have connected with them so quickly; their stage presence is subtle yet engaging and drummer Sam’s deadpan voice has everyone on the floor.

Their next song, 'Celery', is a total tune guaranteed to stick in your head for days. As they sing the verses, it’s as if they are having to hold themselves back before they get to the chorus and go full on with their voices. It has a great '90s sound to it that seems to carry through their other songs especially 'Breath' with its long and low grungy melody. As Kim sings “Save your breath there’s nothing left” I am drawn to thinking of Buffy and the underage night club, The Bronze, that for some reason always had really good bands on. I can’t help but think this song would have been perfect for that show.

As their time on stage draws to a close, Tongue Trap bust out two of their more rage fuelled tunes the first of which is 'Butt Plug'. Usually dedicated to someone who has recently been a prick, tonight the honour goes to Kim’s homophobic flat mate and as the final scream of “you need a butt plug!” ends, the crowd going a bit mental.

The big finisher is their signature song, 'Period Pants', which was written during the time of protest over the tampon tax. Now that’s over, Kim says, this is their victory song instead. An obvious favourite of the fans in the house, there is practically a pit happening at the front of the stage as Sam batters the drums and Kim and Emma smile at each other knowingly. In the final chorus, Kim discards her skirt and they both chant “I’ve got my period pants!” as Kim lifts her guitar to reveal blood stained underwear; punk as fuck in every way. These girls are going to go far.

As Tacocat finally take to the stage, you can tell that the excitement of having a band like this play in Edinburgh is a bit overwhelming yet also a hopeful sign that the music scene is picking up. Colourful as ever, everything about Tacocat makes you feel like you are in for a great night and they put on a hell of a show.

After the great cat based show opener, 'Cat Fancy', the first track played from their new album is the brilliantly angry 'FDP', short for first day of your period. The crowd is obviously made up of already loyal fans as they need no direction to start chanting ”FDP don’t fuck with me!” when the opportunity arises. Moving on to one of the favourites from their last album NVM, 'Bridge To Hawaii' brings the last few stragglers to the dance floor as the show really starts to get going. Tacocat are clearly adored by the crowd and the atmosphere of that seems to fuel their energy on stage. It’s at this point that I notice the absolute beauty that is Bree’s bass guitar; white and covered in sparkling gems and blue lights, it matches the bands aesthetic to a god damn tee.

As Emily introduces 'Dana Katherine Scully', you can tell that this is the song the audience have all been waiting for. A catchy and brilliantly written homage to the intrepid detective herself, it has a great sing along quality and the way that Emily’s voice carries the melody is entrancing. Behind her Lelah is giving it her all on the kit, especially on the bridge where she has a huge smile on her face, eyes closed. It’s a joy to see someone enjoy themselves so much on stage; she brings a whole other level of happiness to this already positive band.

'Talk', the latest single from Lost Time which has just had its own neon dream music video released has a slightly less bright sound to it. The work of producer Erik Blood, who helped them to hone this slightly darker tone, is apparent more here than on any other track. As the audience start to move wildly, Emily sways in time with her tambourine like a '60s folk singer dancing at Glastonbury; elegant and spacey.

Feminist favourites 'Crimson Wave' and 'Hey Girl' turn the room in to a surf-punk-pop frenzy dance hall and as they finish their last song, 'I Hate The Weekend', the audience begs them not to go. In a surprisingly polite attempt at an encore they shout “one more tune, one more tune!” Bree announces that she thinks this is pretty much the cutest thing she’s ever heard as they head back on stage to play us out with a much older song I was unable to catch the name of.

A brilliant band on and off stage and an absolute joy to talk to, Tacocat deserve the fortune that this international tour will bring them and I can’t wait to catch them performing again soon.


Tacocat Sit For A Chat With Musos' Guide


Tacocat are an excellent pop-punk-rock-surf band from Seattle currently touring their 2nd full length album, Lost Time. Ahead of their show at Electric Circus here in Edinburgh I was given the opportunity to catch up with Emily Nokes, Bree McKenna, Lelah Maupin and Eric Randall.

MG: How is the tour going so far, how are you enjoying being here in the UK?

EN: It’s been good, it’s very cold here.

BM: Scotland’s been the warmest.

EN: Yeah it’s like Seattle in winter. But back home its 80 degrees right now. We are missing our summer.

BM: But yeah it’s been good, this is our third date, we were on a tour of the US a month before. So this is a little bit of a wild culture adjustment. There are so many beautiful old things here; we’re just walking down the street being like what?! It’s insane, it’s like a fairy tale land. It’s endlessly exciting.

MG: I saw some pictures from the Manchester show that looked crazy, like people actually dressed up and stuff which was awesome. You are probably used to it in America but did you expect that to happen here?

LM: No, uh uh.

EN: It was a festival so I guess that was part of it but yeah it was like a weird art project just walking through the crowd. It was really cool.

LM: Sometimes people do it at our shows in the states and it’s just like “grins”.

ER: What did somebody wear, like a shark suit…?

BM: Yeah and he was so cute. He was like Japanese kid who didn’t speak much English and he was just like really enthusiastic and he was like I love you so I wore a shark and that’s basically all he could say. It was so sweet.

MG: Is there anywhere that you guys are really looking forward to playing while you are over here?

ER: We are playing almost all new cities from the last time that we came.

BM: Most of it’s like 90% new. I am excited to go back to Paris because our show there last time was so fun but that’s like one of the only double up’s we are doing besides London, Paris, Berlin and Belgium.

MG: So the reason you guys are on tour is because of your album Lost Time. I got to review it when it came out and I loved it. One of my favourite songs was 'Dana Katherine Scully'. Obviously, sci-fi and aliens especially, are quite a big part of your personality as a band as well as your music and I just wondered where the fascination with that came from for all of you?

EN: Around the time that we were recording the album I was watching all the old X-Files before the new ones came out. I’m also just really in to sci-fi. Sometimes there’s not a lot to do when it gets really cold in Seattle and it’s raining all the time so your just like yeah I’m gunna binge on books and TV so yeah that just kind of like bleed in to the album coz it’s what I was kinda doing at the time.

BM: I’m really in to sci-fi too I think that it’s like a really good way to like express social change coz like there’s a lot of feminism in sci-fi, there just such interesting topics you can bring up.

MG: The other track I loved was 'Horse Grrls'. I have an idea in my head of what I think it’s about and I wondered if it was literally, just about girls who like horses or if there was some other crazy different meaning that I wasn’t really picking up on?

LM: It’s about…..Bree.

BM: I was a horse girl, it was such a big part of being a teenager for me.

EN: I remember horse girls really well coz I grew up in a place called Montana which is like a very Western state, there were horses everywhere.

LM: I remember observing horse girls and just being like whoaaaa.

BM: I actually didn’t have a horse or a lot of contact with horses; it was just like books and stuff. I don’t know, I just think it’s a weird thing that happens to young girls; it’s like really bizarre, all of us know some weird teenage horse girls. It’s kind of an interesting thing to examine.

MG: How did you guys enjoy recording the album? What were your favourite songs to work on?

EN: We really enjoyed recording it. We recorded it with a guy named Erik Blood, he’s just a wizard. He was wonderful and sweet and we drank our weight in Coronas every day. My favourite one? I don’t know, it all felt like a big process.

BM: He had really interesting ideas that we had never tried, like weird little recording ideas. Like where he wanted to record peoples drums or how he wanted to record Emily’s voice. He’s really brilliant, he’s like a queer musician too, makes really cool music and he’s sort of made our sound a little darker.

ER: He doesn’t really do a lot of music like ours either, he does like hip hop and like electronic stuff. It’s the first time we have worked with like a proper producer that had input. I recorded the first album and all the other stuff that we did before that and NVM we recorded with somebody else but we still decided what we wanted to do, this is the first time somebody has told us what to do. For some reason we just trusted him.

LM: We didn’t even know he was going to do that he just did it. Like when we first heard the first song fully mixed, I was like, wow the bass sounds great and he was like well, have you ever heard my stuff? And I was like uhhhh yeah, I’m so sorry!

MG: The other thing you guys were working on recently was the Powerpuff Girls them tune. How did that come about?

BM: It was a weird email. We always take a long time to email back and I remember I was like walking to work and I was like you guys Cartoon Network just emailed us! I think I called them back maybe like 5 minutes after I saw that email. But it was like a very long process, you know like very professional?

MG: Was that difficult?

BM: Yeah coz we didn’t write the song, they had the composer write it so it was a little bit difficult. They were like here’s sheet music and we need the drummer to play to a click track which is all things we can’t do. We were just like we’re a punk band, we write our own stuff, this is not how we do things so we had to adjust a lot to our process.

LM: I guess thought it was cool to have a really pro experience, like to pull it off.

MG: Would you do something like that again, if it was something equally as cool?

BM: Yeah if it was something that we all liked. I think we would want to stream line the process a little more coz it was very confusing, a lot of going to different departments, so like that part was a little bit less fun than yay I want to play a Powerpuff Girls song. Yeah it took quite a long time. It was really cool, I’m glad we did it but it was like a really long process.

LM: Yeah we had to put all of our stuff on side which kind of stressed us out.

ER: We lost about a month of time.

LM: But yeah you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and it was very cool to be part of it, it was just a bit like, whew.

MG: Visually you guys are obviously very bright and awesome and colourful and the videos that have been done for this album look amazing, I love the one for Talk. Who did you work with on those videos?

EN: For the 'Talk' video we worked with the same person who made the 'Crimson Wave' video.

BM: Marcy Stone-Francois.

EN: Jessica Aceti made 'I Hate The Weekend', the one with the big heads? She’s awesome. And then Lelah and I made the Scully video with just some wigs and shoulder pads.

ER: We had to make a green screen.

LM: Yeah that’s true we had to make our own green screen, that was hard. That did take the longest but it worked and Emily was just an uncanny Scully.

MG: At the moment there seem to be a lot more female lead bands around. Do you think there is a reason for that?

BM: Things are much better than they were 8 years ago. When we first started and we were touring people would say sexist things to us, we wouldn’t get matched with people who had the same values and now I think that the community is very supporting. Especially in Seattle, like Lisa Prank and Pony Time, Chastity Bet and like Mommy Longlegs, those are all like amazing bands and they're on the rise because there is a space cleared out where it’s not just like bro punk types.

EN: Yeah like we are all paving the way for each other. Making it easier for other women to come up through the scene and not have to deal with wading through that crap.

BM: And there’s a lot more cooler young women like yourselves who didn’t seem to exist as much.

ER: Punk is music for marginalised groups but it reached this point where it was all like male punk bands and it was like what do you have to be upset about? And I remember realising when we first started, this is something so important. It just clicked in my head this is a really awesome thing we are doing and I should have put it on a t-shirt back then “the future is female”, that’s how I felt at the time without knowing how to say it.

LM: The times have changed.

BM: And it’s for the better, it’s really positive, I’m really happy how it’s turning out right now.

MG: Do you have any advice for girls that are in bands now, both here and in the US?

EN: Start a band with your best friends!

ER: It’s important, like in Seattle it’s not like competitive; we all support each other, that’s probably the most important thing, staying together.


BM – Yeah it’s very special.

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