So So Gay recently had the opportunity to see alternative rock group BETTY perform at Reykjavik Pride and we couldn’t resist bringing this spunky collection of NYC divas to your attention.
BETTY are a trio of songwriters and arrangers, featuring Alyson Palmer on vocals and cello, and sisters Elizabeth and Amy Ziff on vocals, guitar and bass. Most of their career has been based across the Atlantic where they have produced eight original studio albums. They have also built up a reputation Stateside for their television work and rousing live shows.
It’s more than possible, of course, that you may have come across the band before and just not realised it – although they are far from forgettable. The band released their début album, Hello BETTY!, back in 1994 and have since appeared on a number of TV show soundtracks. The most notably being on The L Word, for which they provided its theme tune, ‘Showtime’. Quite apart from their own brand of kick-ass rock – not to mention more attitude than you would think possible on one stage – the band are also keen equality activists, not only for the LGBT community but more generally for women’s rights. It was this firm commitment, aside from an infectious feeling of fun, which earned them such a warm reception at Reykjavik Pride, and left it hard to believe that this was their first visit to the city. Indeed, the band have taken part in hundreds of events designed to raise awareness of a whole variety of equality issues, helping to raise millions of dollars for the causes close to their hearts.
Aside from this, they also make very good music, if their 2009 album, Bright and Dark, is anything to go by. Aside from the punchy melodies and uncompromisingly fierce lyrics, which have endeared them to their fans, the album also demonstrates the serious and warm side to the band, with a number of songs exploring band member Elizabeth’s battle against breast cancer. One of the things which has quickly made So So Gay intrigrued with this powerful and, dare we say, fierce collection of ladies is the very human element to their music. Aside from their gloriously bitchy and fun side – exemplified by tracks such as ‘Did You Tell Her’, with it’s uncomprising lyrics, insanely catchy beats and hooks – there is also a rich depth to the band’s music.
There is a passion and uncompromising defiance about BETTY which makes them simply irresistable. Not only is it clear they love what they do, proved by the fantastic chemistry between them, as well as their show-stealing live performances, but they also do it well. They remind us, at a time when many in the LGBT community and the Western world can often be complacent about issues of equality, that there is still much to campaign about.