Why Cupcake Ductape Rules by Alexandra Rimmington (2016)
So you’re wondering — Who’s Cupcake Ductape? Why do they rule? What’s sparkle punk? Where did I leave my phone?
Well, buster, you sure do ask a lot of questions. But allow me to satisfy your curiosity and tell you all about this Guelph dynamic duo.
Steph Yates and Alanna Gurr are both prolific artists and respected musicians in their own right – each with a variety of other standout projects such as Esther Grey, The Greatest State, and Milk & Honey. But it was working as Shopkeeper’s drummer and bassist that first brought Steph and Alanna together as bandmates and provided them the opportunity to try out some sparkly, new ideas. Goofing around during band practice became a way for the two women to step outside their comfort zones, get loud, take up more space, play fast and loose, and create something completely original and unexpected.
What I I like about Cupcake Ductape is that even if you’re already familiar with their other projects, you’re still totally unprepared for them as a duo. The first time I saw them play was like a breath of fresh, cupcake-scented air. Gurr, who is well known for her soft and silky vocals and demure stage presence as a folk musician, is unapologetically brash in Cupcake Ductape. We’re treated to a whole other, entirely welcome side to an artist usually so sweet and gentle. All of a sudden, she’s loud and in-your-face as she trades fast-paced tongue-twisters with Yates and shouts one of my favourite verses, “I’m gonna come to your house and puke!”
My appreciation had only deepened by the second time I got to see them play – at a recent fundraiser show for the Guelph Girls Rock camp that they’ll be running in March. A Girls Rock Camp is the kind of work that can have huge, lasting effects on young women’s lives, and the musical landscape as a whole. And these two musicians have an acute appreciation for just how vital it is, and how everyone wins, when women are able to succeed in traditionally male-dominated spaces. As a raffle prize for the fundraiser, Cupcake Ductape offered to write a song about the topic of some lucky audience member’s choosing. (Full disclosure: I was that lucky audience member. I’m thinking of going meta and making the song about a punk band who let an audience member pick the topic for one of their songs as a raffle prize).
They’ve also got undeniable chemistry together. The humour and spontaneity that goes into their songwriting is obvious when the pair perform their brand of bratty punk on stage, making them a fun act to watch. Party hats often make an appearance at Cupcake Ductape shows, as does Dame Judy Dench – lyrically speaking. Alanna’s distorted bass lines are joined by Steph on drums, who deftly switches rhythms and tempo as the two of them tear through songs – some at a blistering pace. Together, they make music that is both edgy and catchy, sweet and sassy. Sparkle punk! And for any haters out there – Cupcake Ductape has a song for them too. There’s really something for everyone!
Oh yeah, and your phone is where everybody forgets theirs…next to the toilet.