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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Third Sex
Equal Rockers Amendment: Third Sex comes out Thursday (Nov. 14) at San Jose's Cafe Leviticus.

Photo by Natalie Montgomery

Riot Grrl Goin' On:
Third Sex waves the DIY banner high

ALTHOUGH RIOT GRRL--the women-empowering punk movement motivated by bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy--has simmered down somewhat lately, the movement's credos are very much a part of Third Sex's ideology. "The DC chapter of Riot Grrl DC finally dissolved," says Third Sex guitarist Trish Walsh, from a tour stop in New Orleans. "It seems like there is a shift in gears. There are a lot of girls out there with a lot of energy to keep things happening. It seems like there are so many girls working on different projects."

Third Sex uses the basic tenants of empowerment to throw down its queer-pride message. "I see us as a queer band, though I definitely feel a part of Riot Grrl," says bassist Peyton Marshall. "I lived in a house with a bunch of other girls who were in bands or were making art. Coming out of the environment, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted to do." Third Sex brings its progressive message to Cafe Leviticus on Thursday (Nov. 14). The last time the Third Sex was in town (at the Billy DeFrank Center), it was in the midst of a fat tour with a load of other women-fronted bands. Now on its own headlining tour, the members of Third Sex say it's hard to find other like-minded bands to play with.

Finding friendly folks to play for isn't a problem, according to Walsh, as long as the band scopes out the good spots ahead of time. "One of our best shows was at a queer youth center," she recalls. "The South, we thought, would be really weird, but it wasn't. In North Carolina, there's a little pocket of queer girls that come out to see us. Montana was a lot better this time. We had a terrible show the last time we played. I don't know if they were skinheads or thrasher boys or what, but they were yelling stuff, and a big fight broke out. We were pretty hesitant to go back, but then I thought, that scene is so fucked up that we should totally go back and make it better. So we played, and it went great."

The new wave-y punk tracks on Third Sex's CD Card Carryin' (Chainsaw) balances fun subjects ("Bella," "Un Deux Trois Cat!") with serious topics. "Love in the Basement" is Walsh's autobiographical tale of her struggle to come out to her family. "I came out to my family when I was 18. It's a totally painful process. I have a younger sister, and my parents tried to keep it away from her and keep us disconnected. The song is also true for friendships, and how some girls might think that I have a secret agenda."

Walsh separates the experiences of coming out to her parents and coming out nationwide on CD. "It didn't feel like what I was doing was coming out," she says about "Love in the Basement." "It was writing songs that were coming out of my experience that was important for me. Maybe there's kids out there who are in bad situations with their family. They can feel like someone out there can relate, and they're not totally alone." And they are coming out, from closets and in droves, to hear Third Sex's message. Queer-core fans are everywhere, and the only thing that changes are the fashion nuances. "West Coast, you have the big pants. Big pants are still popular," Marshall says. "East Coast dykes are really stylish and sleek."

Ain't New to This

Last-minute shows flooding in all the time. Steve Vai performs his guitar terror at the Edge on Nov. 21. ... Hip-hop heads won't want to forget about Hobo Junction Sunday (Nov. 17) at the Cactus Club.

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From the November 14-20, 1996 issue of Metro

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