We Are Not A Genre

Words by: Amanda Caines

Women in rock and metal bands are on the rise, and six bands from the Carolinas got together Saturday, November 5th at Ground Zero in Spartanburg, S.C., to celebrate the community that is forming around them. The ladies and gentlemen of Death of August, Venus Invictus, Raimee, A Light Divided, The Reason You Stayed, and Blackwater Drowning spent the last few months organizing and promoting this fiesta of femininity in the local rock scene and ruminating on what it means to be in the minority gender in their scene. In the spirit of collaboration that this show’s preparation has embodied, Shutter 16 invited the band members to share their reactions to their fellow performers in real time during the course of the evening. The result is an inspiring collection of empowering praise and expressions of mutual respect.

Metal – Charlotte, N.C.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Deathofaugust
REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/deathofaugust7


Savannah Ruff (The Reason You Stayed – guitar/vocals): Death of August is starting off the show with a crazy catchy riff. I love watching the energy between their two guitar players who seriously know how to shred. Also love seeing bands supporting other bands. DOA bass player is wearing a TRYS shirt and the drummer is wearing ALD shirt

Amanda Tattermask (Venus Invictus – vocals): Thrashy and powerful! LOVE it!

Jaycee Clark (A Light Divided – vocals): Death of August is the perfect choice to kick this shindig off! Their upbeat style immediately got everybody pumped. I’m also super thrilled that so many people showed up early to support all the bands!

Caitlin Cassell (The Reason You Stayed – bass/vocals): We have been watching DOA grow and expand for about 6 months now and the chemistry and talent on that stage is phenomenal. Even though we are only 3 songs in I can definitely say this is one of their best performances I’ve seen to date!

Paolina Massaro (The Reason You Stayed – vocals): I love this bad ass band!! Bad ass dudes, fierce lady guitarists… always such a pleasure watching them! TRYS has had the pleasure of playing with them multiple times and they never disappoint.

Morgan Riley (Blackwater Drowning – vocals): Death of August really brings it! Helena has such a rich voice for someone so small! Jimmy Ski is the happiest looking drummer ever!

Rei Haycraft (Raimée – vocals): Death of August just killed it! The solo on Seek and Destroy [by Metallica] was masterfully done, absolutely inspiring to classic metal fans. You did it proud!


Experimental Rock/Metal – Charlotte, N.C.

WEBSITE: http://venusinvictus.com
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/VenusInvictus/ 
BANDCAMP: https://venusinvictus.bandcamp.com/
REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/venusinvictus
TWITTER: @venusinvictus
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzkxYB0SzQCLoOk2zvA7e5Q

Amirah Brunache (Death of August – guitar): I know we’re only like 20 seconds into their set but my face is being melted off by all the awesomeness! Venus Invictus rocks

Paolina Massaro (The Reason You Stayed – vocals): Such a new band… but you’d never be able to tell!! Venus Invictus is KILLING IT! Stage show is amazing, catchy heavy tunes… I love it


Jaycee Clark (A Light Divided – vocals): For such a new band, Venus invictus sound and perform like seasoned pros! Amanda’s voice absolutely gives me chills!

Morgan Riley (Blackwater Drowning – vocals): Venus Invictus man. You’d never know they were a new band the way they perform.

Shelby McVicker (The Reason You Stayed – guitar): I am so incredibly happy that Venus Invictus is on this bill. They’re definitely one of my new favorites in the scene. Such amazing music and people.

Caitlin Cassell (The Reason You Stayed – bass/vocals): Venus Invictus has such a stacked lineup that there was no way they weren’t going to deliver! For such a new band, you can tell that they have worked their asses off to get everything ready to storm the Carolina Music scene head on! The music is dynamic and Amanda’s voice really shines.

Savannah Kasey Ruff (The Reason You Stayed – guitar/vocals): The only reason I know Venus Invictus is a new band is because they told me. Otherwise you’d never guess that based off of their musicianship and stage presence. Also I am totally grooving to these bass lines.

Jimmy Ski (Death of August – drums): Venus Invictus is fuckin’ rocking this place! Dynamic sonic beauty!

Rei Haycraft (Raimée – vocals): I have been dying to see Venus Invictus ever since I heard rumor that former members of Tattermask had a new project in the works. I have long been a fan of Amanda’s vocals, but she has brought it to a whole new level with these new songs. The perfect blend of heavy and haunting.


RAIMÉE Melodic
Metal/Hard Rock – Greensboro, N.C.

WEBSITE: www.raimee.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/raimeemusic/
BANDCAMP: https://raimee.bandcamp.com/
REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/raimee
TWITTER: @raimeemusic
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/raimeemusic


Morgan Riley (Blackwater Drowning – vocals): Raimee sounds boss! As always though <3

Jaycee Clark (A Light Divided – vocals): Also, Rei’s voice is absolutely angelic and her intensity on stage is unmatched <3

Amirah Brunache (Death of August – guitar): Raimee’s awesome! Love Rei’s vocals

Shelby McVicker (The Reason You Stayed – guitar): This is my first time seeing Raimee and holy damn they do not disappoint!! Only on their second song and I’m already a huge fan!!

Jimmy Ski (Death of August – drums): Raimee bringing it! These guitar riffs and tones are so sweet!

Paolina Massaro (The Reason You Stayed – vocals): First time FINALLY seeing Raimee live and WOW!! What a show! Especially that Pat [Benatar] cover!

Savannah Ruff (The Reason You Stayed – guitar/vocals): My first time seeing Raimee live and they did not disappoint. I don’t see a head in the crowd that isn’t bobbing along- there’s something about this band that’s so captivating.

Caitlin Cassell (The Reason You Stayed – bass/vocals): I don’t know why I haven’t seen RAIMEE before but I am so glad I have seen them now! Amazing performance by all!

Amanda Tattermask (Venus Invictus – vocals): I’ve been a Raimee fan for a really long time, and I’ve got to say this is the best I’ve heard them live – absolutely stellar!! Heartbreaker was on point!


Pop/Punk/Rock – Winston-Salem, N.C.

WEBSITE: www.alightdivided.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ALightDivided/
TWITTER: @ALightDivided
BANDCAMP: https://alightdivided.bandcamp.com/
REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/alightdivided
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/ALightDividedBand

Morgan Riley (Blackwater Drowning – vocals): This crowd tho ALD tearing it up as always <3 I’m always impressed at how hard they can throw down and still perform the songs haha

Amirah Brunache (Death of August – guitar): A Light Divided is blowing the roof off of Ground Zero right now!

Paolina Massaro (The Reason You Stayed – vocals): As always, ALD is rocking my world. They are scary talented, and I’ll never know how Jaycee headbangs so violently and still sings beautifully. Witchcraft…

Rei Haycraft (Raimée – vocals): The power of Jaycee Clark’s voice, energy, and spirit are nothing short of awe inspiring. The whole band pours their heart and soul into every performance and it is intoxicating!


Amanda Tattermask (Venus Invictus – vocals): It’s almost criminal that this band isn’t doing this full-time for a living yet – they always bring the riffs, the energy, and the fun wherever they’re on stage.

Caitlin Cassell (The Reason You Stayed – bass/vocals): I was way too busy losing my mind for a light divided to write this when it was happening but they rock my world. Much love <3


Alternative Rock – Charlotte, N.C.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/TheReasonYouStayed/
REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/thereasonyoustayed
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ38DrpwksZttm8zF6loApw
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/thereasonyoustayed/
TWITTER: @trys_5

Jaycee Clark (A Light Divided – vocals): The reason you stayed exemplifies exactly why girls DO in fact run the world. What a grade A group of musicians.

Amirah Brunache (Death of August – guitar): The Reason You Stayed killin it as always!

Morgan Riley (Blackwater Drowning – vocals): The Reason You Stayed is simply a force to be reckoned with. Yaaaas girls Paolina Massaro makes those notes look effortless and I hate her in the most loving way possible


Rei Haycraft (Raimée – vocals): Absolutely floored by The Reason You Stayed.

Amanda Tattermask (Venus Invictus – vocals): These ladies are awesome in every way I can think of — I’ve always wanted to be in a kick-ass, all-girl band, and if I can’t do it myself, at least I can live vicariously through TRYS watching them succeed and kick ass 


Melodic Death Metal – Salisbury, N.C.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/blackwaterdrowning/
BANDCAMP: https://blackwaterdrowning.bandcamp.com/
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9r3o_WRY3tlW6FDtRTbcwA
TWITTER: @blackwaterdrown
REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/blackwaterdrowning
INSTAGRAM: @blackwaterdrowning


Savannah Ruff (The Reason You Stayed – guitar/vocals): I WANT EVERY MEMBER OF BLACKWATER TO PUNCH ME IN THE FACE

Shelby McVicker (The Reason You Stayed – guitar): I remember the first time I saw Blackwater play and I absolutely fell in love with them and their music. Their new guitar player is KILLIN IT!! I’m so happy to have been able to share the stage with them again!!

Paolina Massaro (The Reason You Stayed – vocals): FIRST OFF I SECOND WHAT SAVANNAH SAID. This band always makes me wanna go crazy in the best way possible. So. Much. Talent.

Amirah Brunache (Death of August – guitar): Blackwater Drowning sounds great! Love their style and the guitars sound awesome

Jaycee Clark (A Light Divided – vocals): Morgan has been one of my best friends for years. It’s been amazing to see her really come into her own with Blackwater Drowning. This band has all the potential in the world to do big things and I can’t wait to see what they do next <3

Amanda Tattermask (Venus Invictus – vocals): Blackwater kicked ass before, but with the addition of Chris & Lily since the last time I’d seen them — just, WOW! So much ass-kicking and brutality!

Rei Haycraft (Raimée – vocals): BWD brutally beautiful as always. <3

Jimmy Ski (Death of August – drums): Blackwater drowning lighting it up! This drummer is a fucking animal!!!!!

Caitlin Cassell (The Reason You Stayed – bass/vocals): Morgan is definitely one of my favorite screamers ever and with the addition of Lily I can really see the connection and the stage presence was amazing as always! 10/10!



A few comments from the evening were directed more towards feelings about the entire event than any specific band.

Jaycee Clark (A Light Divided – vocals): Can I just say the energy in the room right now is more electrifying than I ever could have imagined? I’ve had so many people tell me they’re making it a point to buy merch from all the bands who have it available. I’m truly humbled.
I walked off stage and I seriously had to fight back tears. This show was everything I hoped it would be and then some. Icon for what?
You gaaaaaals! What an exceptional night. All of you guys n gals have a special place in my heart. I can’t believe we pulled it off! <3

Morgan Riley (Blackwater Drowning – vocals): The incredible support tonight is giving me all the feels. I’m so proud to call all of you ladies (and gentlemen) friends <3 Y’all, we made something beautiful tonight. Many feels were had by me <3 Every single band brought their a-game and I’m so proud to have shared the stage with all you beautiful people!

Kevin McGee (Shutter 16 Magazine – photographer): Awesome night. I can’t remember experiencing a show where I saw and felt so much support amongst all the bands. Good vibes all around.

 See full gallery of the night here!