Betsy Ross's name will forever be linked with flags, rocking chairs, and red, white, and blue thread. But the Fourth of July show at Orbit by the local band that bears her name will solidify another association: aggressive rap-metal.
Pete Gross, late of industrial-rap mayhem bringers Collapsing Lungs, wanted to carry on when said outfit broke up a few years back, but how would he distinguish his new project? Why, a female singer! There ya go! You don't often see that in the testosterone-soaked, misogynistic world of rap-metal. And when he found Betsy Ross, he knew his search was over.
"I was singing Vanilla Ice in [Pete's] car, and he said, "Hey, wanna sing in a band?'" she recalls.
That was a year and a half ago, and come Independence Day, Ross celebrates her 18th birthday by performing with her eponymous band. (It was an easy gig to get: In addition to being a darn good guitarist, Gross also manages Orbit.) The group has gone through some severe lineup changes recently, with Death Becomes You bassist Nicodemous filling in for the departed Megacriss. Drummer Chris Goldbach had to drop out when his other band, Against All Authority, demanded a full-time commitment. A drum machine has taken his place, but the singer says she won't miss a beat.
"I'm actually looking forward to that," Ross says. "I can get everything out of my head without having to get it through someone else."
Though her actual b-day is July 27, the glaring red rockets of Independence Day could not be ignored. The evening begins at 7 p.m. when Köcosanté/ takes the stage for 30 minutes or so, followed by half-hour sets by Scars of Life, Saq, No Way Out, Betsy Ross, Mindscape 9, Clubber Lang, and finally the Mary Tyler Whores, who wrap the show up by 1 a.m.
Gross brings a lot of the Collapsing Lungs sound to the stage, and it mixes well with the heavy bass, loops, and samples played through a four-track. Of course what makes the band memorable are the angry vocals of that waifish girl -- er, woman -- up there, laying down mad rhymes for her country.