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A real rager

Profile image for By Lucinda Breeding
By Lucinda Breeding

Cover band, other acts aim to make themselves heard at Femme Fest

Rip the System has the perfect place to unleash some rage this weekend: at Mable Peabody’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair, during Femme Fest on Saturday night.

“We don’t want to sound like Rage Against the Machine,” said drummer Marisa Saltzgiver. “We want to sound like a band that captures that same spirit.”

Rage Against the Machine is a rap-metal band that earned mainstream success with its second album, Evil Empire. Fronted by poet Zack de la Rocha, the band is a hardcore act that constructs loud, fearless guitar riffs around full-force drumming and bass. De la Rocha’s screamed-word poetry is anchored by hard-left ideology denouncing systemic oppression that marginalizes the poor, ethnic minorities and the vulnerable underclass.

So when Saltzgiver says “spirit,” she means loud and indignant. Oh, and fully committed.

Rip the System formed in 2004, then disbanded in 2007 before reviving with its current lineup with Ele Font Punk on vocals, David Miles Rios on guitar and Randy Lincoln on bass.

Saltzgiver said Rip the System starts working in jam sessions, with no click track and nothing but chemistry.

“I didn’t actually know Rage when we started, I finally started listening to them. I became very entranced,” she said. “I liked what they were doing rhythmically and their musicality. I especially liked how the bass and drums lock together and are really solid.”

The band usually keeps Rage mainstays in its set list. They often fire up a set with “Down Rodeo (Evil Empire)” and then take the crowd through a dynamic set.

“Obviously, we’re not going to start with ‘Bulls On Parade,’” Saltzgiver said. “That’s the song everyone wants to hear. You have to make them wait for that.”

“Bulls on Parade” scored with anarchists and lefties alike, even as the song is a bruising condemnation of hard-right politics that champion gun rights and the nuclear family, The refrain shouts “Rally ’round the family, pocket full of shells.”

The drummer’s favorite cover is “Into the Darkness.”

“It’s one of Rage’s B-sides,” Saltzgiver said. “When you start off it’s jazz and people don’t recognize it. When we start, people think we’re playing a different song.”

Saltzgiver said one of the many reasons Rip the System agreed to join Femme Fest is the emphasis on women who make art.

“There are two women in our band, me and Ele Font, our lead singer,” she said. “We really drive the band. Women in the music industry are really coming forward. That’s the part of this I really keep coming back to.”

Femme Fest is both a showcase of local creative women and a fundraiser for the Cicada Collective, a local activist group that helps women get access to reproductive services, which includes family planning as well as helping women access abortions, and offering emotional, physical and informational support to them.

Saturday’s show bill includes Reinventing Jude, Sydney Wright, Karma, the Black Sheep and Sheila Bustillos-Reynolds. The fest will also serve as the premiere of the latest issue of Muchacha, a locally made Latina feminist zine that’s putting out its eighth issue, “Nuestros Cuerpos/Our Bodies.”

Femme Fest was created by a parit of women’s studies graduate students at Texas Woman’s University, Daisy Salinas and Darci McFarland.



What: A fundraising concert, silent auction and celebration of women who make art of all kinds in Denton. Performers include Reinventing Jude, Sydney Wright, Karma, the Black Sheep and Sheila Bustillos-Reynolds.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Mable Peabody’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair, 1125 E. University Drive

Details: Cover is $5. Proceeds go toward the Cicada Collective. The venue is open to ages 18 and older.