The Ladies of Sister Lip Turn Backhanded Compliments Around on Stage

Categories: Interview

Sister Lip (Ben Garcia)
Ben Garcia
By Jeff Moses

Sister Lip brings the spirit of jazz to the rock scene, and local rock fans are feeling the music. And the year-old band (the current lineup has been together since April) is starting to land coveted slots on high-profile bills.

For instance, on Saturday, October 19, the local quartet will take its jazz-infused soul/rock sounds to the annual Apache Lake Music Festival to perform with Kongos, Future Loves Past, The Sugar Thieves, and more than 30 local acts. "Being the baby on there will definitely help us for next year," says lead singer and guitarist Cassidy Hilgers, who says the band has high hopes for the coming year, including an East Coast tour.

A full-band East Coast tour, that is -- Hilgers and drummer Ariel Monet hit the road in July, playing acoustic shows on a tour that briefly hopped over the border into Canada. But come next summer, after bassist Cheri French turns 18, the band envisions heading east together.

Plans aside, Sister Lip must fight more of an uphill battle than the average local band. Being an all-female group with an average age of 20 -- 23-year-old pianist Jenny Rebecca is the elder statesman -- is both a blessing and curse. It makes the act unique in the Phoenix scene, but it also occasions some passive aggression.

"I don't think we run into too much outward hostility from anyone," Rebecca says. "People just seem totally disinterested when we show up, sometimes. But then we play, and people who were kind of disinterested or mean at first just pretend they were never mean to you."

Rebecca isn't the only band member catching a glimpse of the more sexist side of the music scene. "It's just backhanded compliments: 'Oh, I thought you would suck. It's good that you don't,'" French says. "And I'm like, 'Thanks, don't talk to me.'"

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