Show Review: Broads and Boards Benefit at Hole in the Wall

by James Fisk

Photos by Adrian Gandara

Boards and Broads

It’s almost 11 o’clock at the main stage in Hole In The Wall for the Broads and Boards “Fundraise the Roof Show,” and Maud Morgan, vocalist and bassist for Pollen Rx, is ready to make this crowd lose its shit.

Most of them are two drinks in and rapt in attention by now, yet she seems to speak straight through them to the back of the room.

“Making stuff is powerful,” she says looking to Leeann Terwilliger, the founder of Broads and Boards, a nonprofit aimed at creating safe and welcoming spaces for women to learn woodworking and other trade skills.

Without another word, Morgan and her bandmates rip into their next song, during the bridge of which she does an actual bridge on stage, extending from the tips of her toes to the crown of her head without missing a beat of her bass line.

The crowd, as expected, loses its shit.

Pollen RX

Broads and Boards, founded by Terwilliger in 2016, works to bridge the gap between the growing community of women in Austin interested in woodworking and the scarcity of learning and working opportunities available to them. B&B offers workshops, social and networking events and more, but is stymied in its growth lacking a permanent home. Tonight’s event is raising funds to help the organization secure a community space that will allow it to offer more workshops, open hours for guidance on projects and access to tools, and foster a permanent site for the community to take root.

The bands and the crowd both feel the importance of the cause and seem to share their duty to it like a pact: the crowd intently engaged with the music and the bands feeding off that energy and playing it back. All while, of course, reminding everyone to buy raffle tickets.

Opening the show, Dear Greer fills the room with sparse instrumentation and ringing vocals. Tight minor harmonies recall the highs of Lucius or The Staves, clear voices melded into a single transcendent call. A beautifully transformed cover of “Never Ending,” a deep cut from Rihanna’s 2016 LP Anti, bears out impeccable taste. “That’s my dad being very loud over there,” lead vocalist Greer Culbertson admits after a standout a cappella number.

Dear Greer

Amid people milling about the Broads and Boards merch stand, browsing the buttons, stickers and shirts for sale, Stretch Panic take the stage and with their opening chord command the room’s attention. The floral-printed combat boots on guitarist MJ’s feet tap along in time to their electrifying blend of Riot Grrrl, ‘60s pop and garage rock. Jennifer Monsees’s outpouring of meaty, undeniable bass riffs infects everyone in earshot with head-nodding and knee-bopping.

The girl standing next to me takes a Snapchat video to post to her story and swipes through each filter option, but none can quite capture the vibe. She posts it unfiltered and without commentary.

Stretch Panic

Pollen Rx keep up the energy with their sharp, danceable garage rock folded into lyrics that meditate on American disillusionment and cultural corrosion. “The oil spill washes on the coast/Border patrol and pre-fab homes/But my TV show plays for me alone,” sings Ben Hirsch on “Sunbelt Emptiness” while three or four at the front of the crowd begin to really get down.

Pollen RX

The room thins a bit by the time Carry Illinois come to the stage. Others in the crowd, seeming by now to be wilting in energy, are beginning to collect themselves and their friends to make their exit into the night. They stop once the band begins to play. Reverberating guitars and synths fill the room to the brim, swallowing everyone in its wake.

When did you first begin to hate your body and your heart/I was six or I was seven/Wasn’t I too young to feel that way?” Lizzy Lehman asks in the group’s most recent single “Runaway.” Her voice is intrepid, cutting through the reverberation with a grounded, honest clarity.

Carry Illinois

Lehman perhaps leaves the crowd ruminating on all the ways that women have been, and are continued to be, denied. On how crucial it is to have spaces for women. On how much power is reclaimed in the opportunity to make stuff.

You donate to the Indiegogo campaign for Broads and Boards’ new workshop here.