Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Students discuss their work in class at the MESA center at American River College on April 25, 2024. (Photo: Cristian Gonzalez/CalMatters)
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    Femme queers rock Oakland’s Stork Club

    Local band V.E.X. push against gentrification through performance


    The Stork Club in Oakland was filled Feb. 6 with deathrock Goths, punk rockers, and a few leather clad rock n’ rollers.

    One fan had psychedelic Doc Martens of glowing flowers; another wore a black leather shirt, and pants with shoulder-length bright pink hair. A pair of women danced a swirling death-rock dead head twirl with ballerina precision.

    It was mesmerizing and beautiful, and fit perfectly with the music that V.E.X. makes.

    V.E.X. is the abbreviation for “Ventriloquest Ectoplasmold Xanaxax.” Most people refer to them as Vex. The band is a duo: Roxy Monoxide and Lu Gamma Ray, who also goes by Lulu.

    At the show, they started off with a slow danceable drum beat with heavy Black Sabbath-like bass keyboard notes, while Lulu played a pretty melody. Roxy left the keyboard and picked up her gold saxophone. Lu started singing pretty and in key.

    One of the many things that make this band different and original is how close to impossible it is explain what its music sounds like. It was ugly in its beauty, muddy with clean melodies mixed in.

    V.E.X. moved to Oakland seven years ago after being priced out of San Francisco. They’ve been playing together in bands since 1999. Their main band Moira Scar has been playing shows and releasing records since 2008. V.E.X. is Lulu and Roxy’s music project for more experimental music that’s in the electro-industrial style and wouldn’t fit Moira Scar.

    Roxy and Lu are full-time artists who are passionate about their beliefs. One of their beliefs is in taking a stand for the people in their community, and speaking out against the gentrification that’s taking place in Oakland.

    “[We like] real Oakland, not the new tech gentrification,” Lu said. “Oakland’s history of activism is very inspirational, more recently… Black Lives Matter and Food Not Bombs.”

    She also said that she wanted to “give respect and honor to the Black Panther Party that’s celebrating its 50 year anniversary.”

    The band has “joined with other poor musicians and people in their neighborhood to fight displacement,” because of “Oakland being ground zero for gentrification,” Roxy said.

    They are a duo who believes in taking action, especially since both of them were evicted due to the gentrification that started in San Francisco and is spreading rapidly. They are also taking a stand for equality in other issues that affect our community.

    Roxy finds it “exciting to see the cross pollination going on between the different music scenes. As a trans woemyn, and us being femme queers, it’s rad to see more trans and queers at the shows, and not just on the margins but up front-along with more people of color within these punk and noise scenes claiming their space.”

    V.E.X. has claimed a space for themselves as an important part of the diverse music scene in Oakland. At the Stork Club, the energy of the 50 people that surrounded the stage had not waned the entire set. The crowd danced, swayed and flowed with the mood that the music created.

    Few bands that play music as original and different as V.E.X. plays, can hold an audience’s attention as completely as this duo does. When they finished their last song, and bid a good night to the crowd, everyone applauded and yelled.

    Then there was a rare silence seconds after the band dis-appeared through the backstage curtain. It was what can only be described as an awe felt by the people that had witnessed V.E.X.

    V.E.X. has songs streaming on Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages. Their first full-length record is available on a CD. Their second album is about to be released on tape.

    All their music can be purchased from Oakland record stores such as Econojam or 1–2–3–4 Go, or Thrillhouse Records in S.F. However, they both said to just go to see them play and get it direct from the band — it will be a night to remember.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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