I had a really interesting and frustrating experience playing The NeuroLux with Wild Spells back in April.
The band was setting up, and I realized I left my 1/8 to ¼ cable that connects my laptop to the bass amp at the practice space. We had been messing with our setup the night before and I forgot to unplug it from the PA.
I realized my mistake quickly once I started setting up, and I let Eric know because he had the keys to the van. I figured I would run back to the space, grab the cable, and race back for sound check.
The sound guy overheard me saying I was missing a cable, but instead of coming directly to me, the person on stage who was playing this instrument, he went straight up to Eric and asked what kind of cable I needed. I tried to interrupt Eric and tell the sound guy myself (especially because the guys often forget I need a 1/8 to ¼ instead of a generic ¼ to ¼ instrument cable), but Eric replied anyway with the wrong answer. The sound guy disappeared and then reappeared with the wrong cable. He handed it to Eric, who handed it to me.
This was frustrating for so many reasons. I hated feeling dismissed by the sound guy, like asking me what I needed wasn’t even an option. I hated that he automatically gravitated toward the closest man on stage to answer a question about my instrument that would have taken a lot less time for me to explain. I hated having to go back to the sound guy and ask for the correct cable and having him sneer in my face, like somehow the mixup was my fault. I hated knowing that if Eric was missing a cable for his setup, that sound guy would have never come to me to ask what Eric was missing.
And the thing I hated the most was my band mate–-one who I have had so many discussions with about gender and feminism in music--responded to this like a microaggression wasn’t happening.
Now, to Eric’s defense, he did realize his mistake immediately when I (angrily) pointed this out. He was great about it, listening to my frustration without getting defensive, and he almost immediately apologized for the encounter. He promised to send people my way if they had questions about my instrument or setup in the future. It was awesome, and I’m really appreciative of the way he handled it.
This wasn't the first incident of blatant sexism playing with Wild Spells, and it’s not even close to being the last. I’m worn out. I’m so lucky to be playing with such amazing dudes, but there’s always so much to work on in the music industry, both with microaggressions and institutionalized sexism.