Confession: When I was in 5th grade, I wanted to be Avril Lavigne when I grew up. From the moment I put her CD into my Walkman, I started wearing armbands and neckties over my school uniform that I shamelessly bought from Hot Topic. I asked for a guitar for Christmas and would wail angsty teenage ballads at the top of my lungs at all hours of the day (you’re welcome, Mom and Dad). I even bought a skateboard, determined to be a ~sk8eR GRl~ just like my beloved Canadian idol. But my infatuation went far past Avril’s punk clothing and enviable middle-finger-up attitude. She was the first badass female that came onto my radar as doing something that, in my short 12 years of life, I had only thought boys could do.
Although I’ve since ditched the clip-in hot pink hair streaks, my inner wanna-be-Avril lives on. So when I saw that House of Vans, my favorite summer concert venue from my favorite sneaker company, was hosting a Girls’ Skate Jam featuring a performance from The Kills, I knew I had to be there. Since opening in 2011, House of Vans — a warehouse venue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn — has hosted free concerts including free beer and free skating (yes, actually free). Sadly, the seven-year-long party is coming to a close this year — but not without a grand finale season.
[Photo: Laura June Kirsch]
On May 18, House of Vans treated guests to a celebration of female empowerment with a performance from The Kills, as well as a Girl’s Skate Jam, and an outdoor street market from only female vendors. It’s no secret that skateboarding culture has long been a bit of a boys club, so making it more accessible to girls has recently gained much-needed traction with events such as this one.
[Photo: Laura June Kirsch]
The night began with the Girls’ Skate Jam hosted by New York City-based skateboard collective TheSkate Kitchen, where girls were free to skate to their hearts’ content at the on-site skate park. Guests could also visit the street market, or grab some grub from the tasty food trucks outside. All attention then turned to the House of Vans’ stage for a performance from the British-American group, The Kills, fronted by British guitarist Jamie Hince, and American vocalist/rock-n-roll dreamgirl, Alison Mosshart. Although the group typically sells out massive international venues, this performance — and all other House of Vans’ shows I’ve been to — had a relatively small crowd. This allowed for a more intimate-feeling performance, which is always a big plus.
[Photos: Paige Ehlers]
If you missed this show, don’t worry, as House of Vans has a very promising lineup for the remainder of the season, including performances from artists such as Action Bronson and Interpol. Make sure to RSVP to one before the venue says goodbye for good — spots at parties this fun (and don’t forget: FREE) always fill up quickly.