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  • Jack Starr

Deux Furieuses – Bold Feminist Punk Rock Slams the Establishment (Review and Interview)

Deux Furieuses are a post-punk duo, formed in London in 2013 by Scottish singer and guitarist Ros Cairney and British-Greek drummer Vas Antoniadou. Their name comes from a French live review, which reportedly said, in French: "In front of me are two furious women who have rock and roll running through their veins”.

The duo appeared at the legendary Corporation Sheffield, known to locals as ‘Corp’ and famous for its alternative gigs and club nights. They played as a triple bill of punk groups fronted by women – supporting American group War on Women on their UK tour, they also played alongside Blood Stained Reputation, a young alternative-rock group from South Yorkshire.

Loud and bold, Deux Furieuses do not hold anything back with their angry, politically-charged punk rock. They played two new singles: ‘Bring Down the Government’, a slow and grinding track that slams the current administration’s ‘disastrous’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic; and ‘Know the Score’, a track dedicated to women who are victims of domestic violence and murder. In the song introduction, the duo remarked that the ‘score’ – the number of women murdered in the UK so far this year – currently stood at 63, up nine from the previous month. This is evidently a group that does not take their messaging lightly.

Their setup is minimal – one guitar, one drum kit – but this only serves to compliment the raw, direct fury these two women have to express. They clearly display a lot of energy and a lot of passion for social causes they believe in, and they know how to express it through catchy, folk-ish rock and roll. While they name influences such as PJ Harvey, Pixies, Breeders and Kate Bush, they also cite folk music as a big inspiration, with Ros growing up surrounded by relatives playing Irish music, and Vas having a Greek musical background – even learning to play the baglama and tzoura.

Towards the end of the set, they played a song titled ‘Are we Sexy Enough’, critiquing the pressure on women and girls to be aesthetically pleasing above all. They recounted on stage that this track got them dropped from their record label.

Though their set was short, Deux Furieuses never had a dull moment. Their mission statement is clear – and they deliver it with power, confidence, and nifty punk-rock hooks.

The opening act, Blood Stained Reputation also gave a short-but-sweet set. The band is made up of youngsters – three young women on guitars and vocals, with a young man on drums. Dressed up like old-school rockers, they delivered enthusiasm and brilliant energy, with singer Ray engaging the audience, inviting everyone up close and encouraging them to dance in a delightful Doncaster accent. They played mostly original songs, but the highlight was a very adept cover of the Foo Fighters’ hard-rock anthem ‘The Pretender’. This group has a promising future ahead of them.

The main act was War on Women, a hardcore-punk group hailing from Baltimore, USA. Much like Deux Furieuses, their music touches on political and feminist themes, including abortion rights, misogyny, and sexual assault. Vocalist Shawna Potter gave charged opening remarks about the recent Roe v. Wade controversy in America, before charging into a set of loud, heavy guitar-based punk rock. The robust, brash nature of this kind of hardcore punk is highly effective in getting across their outspokenly feminist objective. Their charm owes much to Potter, whose dance moves and frantic onstage antics are incredibly engaging. In one semi-ironic (we hope) song, she sings about ‘killing all men’, pointing out men in the audience while repeating ‘And you! And you! And you!’

Deux Furieuses were kind enough to answer a few of our questions before the gig.

It is clear your music is politically charged - is there any specific message you're trying to get across? “It's not a time as an artist to be quiet. When we started our band there were no women like us represented in the culture around us. We are commenting on the world as we see it and as it affects us from the Tory Government's mishandling of the Covid pandemic to the shadow pandemic of male violence against women to the desperate need for human reconnection with the natural world.” In the past, you have supported big groups such as Killing Joke and Public Image Limited - how was this experience? “It was definitely a thrill to be main support to Killing Joke at Hammersmith Apollo with Brix Smith. It was a lot of fun seizing that huge stage with Brix's all female band. Deb Googe from My Bloody Valentine and Jen Macro from Hurtling are ace musicians and so great to play with. Brix has a proper van, tour manager and sound engineer which is a luxury Deux Furieuses can't afford and we really enjoyed the experience. The tour with Public Image Limited was also brilliant until Ros got Covid and couldn't finish the tour!” What is your favourite venue you have played at? “Deux Furieuses at Manchester O2 Apollo supporting Frank Turner and Pet Needs in 2021 was our first proper gig back after the lockdown restrictions ended and we will never forget the experience. It was the most emotional show we have ever played to the best crowd in a fantastic venue with a stunning sound.” Have you played in Sheffield before? How do you like the city? “We haven't played a gig in Sheffield before though we did record our first Deux Furieuses demo at 2Fly Studio in Sheffield and enjoyed the city vibe then.” Any plans for upcoming releases? “We are very excited to release our new album, Songs from Planet Earth, on 11 November via Xtra Mile Recordings and have a new single out on 2nd September!”

Deux Furieuses are currently supporting the War on Women UK tour. If their upcoming album matches up to their live performance, it is sure to be a treat.


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