Patriarchy: Voyeuristic synthpop comes to The Sinkhole 11.04.22

Actually Huizenga of Patriarchy on the set of the video for “Good Boy.” Photo by Shane McKenzie, courtesy of Patriarchy.

Patriarchy w/ Street Fever, DJ Sex Nintendo | 11.04.22, 8:00pm | The Sinkhole, 7423 S. Broadway | All aged | $12 adv, $15 day of show

On Friday, November 4th, Patriarchy will perform at The Sinkhole (7423 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63111) as part of the Midwestern leg of their 2022 “Red, White, and Blonde” tour. Patriarchy is the passion project of Los Angeles-based musician Actually Huizenga, who is credited as the sole songwriter, lyricist, and vocalist on all Patriarchy releases. Joining her on tour are drummer AJ English and guitarist Bradley Soileau, who ask to be referred to as simply “The Drummer” and “The Guitarist,” respectively.

The first Patriarchy album, Asking for It, was released in 2019. At the time, Patriarchy was a collaboration between Huizenga and producer Andrew Means, a member of the Los Angeles industrial rock band 3TEETH. As with all subsequent Patriarchy projects, the subject matter of this album centers around sexual politics and violence (sample lyric: “You had those eyes, Maraschino cherries/You had those thighs, in those fuck-me pumps/Forcing me to torture you” from “Burn the Witch”). The production and songwriting on this album are in the mold of synthpop and darkwave from the mid-1980s, sounding much like Eurythmics if they were obsessed with BDSM.

In early 2021, a remix album was released, Reverse Circumcision, which featured new arrangements of songs from Asking for It from artists such as Geneva Jacuzzi, Drab Majesty, and ADULT. Huizenga stated that working on the remix album was “a perfect project for quarantine,” allowing her to reach a new fanbase through her collaborations while she focused on writing and recording her next album.

The second Patriarchy album, The Unself, was released in August 2022. As with Asking for It, Huizenga is credited as songwriter and lyricist for every track on the album. Although much of the album is in the same style of gothic synthpop as the previous Patriarchy release, this album also sees “The Drummer” and “The Guitarist” making appearances on a few tracks, notably the bluntly titled “Don’t Fuck the Drummer.” “They’re trash collectors, literally and figuratively,” said Huizenga of her bandmates. “I met them through a trash collection service on Craigslist. They’re good-looking pieces of trash.”

We spoke with Actually Huizenga and her supporting band in advance of their upcoming show. Huizenga states she was born “under the Hollywood sign” in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles and views her upbringing in the greater Hollywood region as a primary influence on her music. In her view, one of the most exciting aspects of her current tour is seeing parts of the country between the coastal areas she was most familiar with; her show at The Sinkhole will be her first time in St. Louis.

Actually Huizenga of Patriarchy. Photo by Shane McKenzie courtesy of Patriarchy.

According to Huizenga, her performances as Patriarchy allow her to adopt a persona as a form of personal empowerment. “When I’m on stage, I am me, but it’s like my shadow self comes out through my performance,” said Huizenga. “I definitely have some primordial anger from the past slavery of my [womanhood]… It’s like taking a wild animal on a train for the circus tour. It’s a little tiring, but I’m learning how to feed it and tranquilize it so it’ll be ready for the show.” She describes her performances as highly physical, to the point of self-injury, and the themes of violence and sexuality explored in her music are featured prominently in her shows. For people who are interested in getting a preview for what a Patriarchy show will be like, she recommends that they watch her music videos, which she directs and edits. There are four videos for the new album currently available on YouTube and other video streaming platforms.

When asked about the target audience for a Patriarchy show, Huizenga and her bandmates stated that their music appeals to a wide and eclectic audience, taking equal inspiration from pop, industrial, and metal. “Patriarchy is somewhere between Nine Inch Nails and Abba,” said The Drummer. “I think with the full performance, and the energy of both bands, we are very diverse and kinetic in sound and performance. You can expect to experience something along the lines of an early Marilyn Manson performance… It really runs the gamut from industrial metal to beautiful, synthy, ethereal shit.” When describing a recent show in New York, The Drummer pointed to comments from audience members: “They said this was the first show they’ve seen in a long time that actually made them feel nervous, and on the edge of ‘Is this okay, should I feel triggered?’… There’s a tension in the room. We’re not just ‘playing the songs well,’ it’s like theater.”

“People are turned off sometimes by how amazingly sexy we are. So they’re just expecting it to be bad, because we look so good. But they don’t realize we’re actually amazing,” said Huizenga. “You can see the confusion and arousal in people. I feel it too. That’s exactly what Patriarchy is about. I’m giving you a word that you think you hate, but you don’t even know why… I’m reclaiming the word for me, and my bandmates, and whoever wants to feel it. If they don’t want to, they’re probably going to hate me in a misogynistic way.”

Street Fever, an industrial techno artist based in Boise, ID, will be joining Patriarchy for their show at The Sinkhole on 11/4, and for the remainder of their 2022 tour. He is famous for his use of industrial imagery in his shows and for performing while wearing elaborate masks. The Drummer describes Street Fever’s performances as “visceral, kinetic, and hyperphysical,” with frequent use of props. The collaboration between Patriarchy began when the groups met while performing at Substance Festival, an annual concert series held in Los Angeles featuring a variety of post-punk, industrial, and synthpop artists.

Patriarchy and Street Fever will be performing at The Sinkhole on Friday, November 4th. The show will open with a set from St. Louis-based DJ Matty Coonfield, AKA DJ Sex Nintendo. | David Von Nordheim

For more information on the show, visit the Sinkhole’s website. To purchase tickets, visit Brown Paper Tickets.

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