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Fer Sure, Shiragirl's No Boys' Band!
The soft notes sound as if they were coming from an elegant music box sitting in a young girl's all-pink bedroom. Shira Yevin dances on stage accordingly, with one hand on top of her head as she spins gracefully to the soothing melodies.
With a powerful crash of an electric guitar, followed by a piercing back-up of bass and electronic drums, Yevin - a skinny, 23-year-old dressed in a black tank top and very short shorts, with a slew of different colors playing in her hair - turns from ballerina to punk rocker in a flash, jumping around and screaming into the microphone.
During such instrumentals, Yevin dances and rocks her head in what looks like choreographed motion, keeping time with her guitar player, bass player and D.J. - all female.
This foursome make up the band Shiragirl, and this recent performance in the sweltering heat at Camden, N.J.'s Tweeter Center is a hometown stop on the Warped Tour - an all-day festival featuring more than 85 rock 'n' roll and punk bands.
Yevin, a New Jersey native who was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in communications and a minor in theater arts, was invited with her band to join this year's tour after crashing the party last year.
The band had tagged along on Warped Tour '04 in their pink and black R.V. and played on their own makeshift stage in each city's parking lot. The buzz around their all-girl show led Warped Tour promoters to give the band not only a slot on this year's tour, but their own all-girl stage.
"We get to pick all the bands," said Yevin who, along with her bandmates, selected every lady-led group that graces the all new "Shiragirl stage."
The stage looks like a moving company's truck that has been beaten to death. One side is missing, the metal sliding door in the back has been almost completely ripped off, and the entire vehicle is covered in pink paint.
It's exactly how Yevin and the girls wanted it.
Growing up, Yevin studied dance from age 3. "I did ballet and tap jazz," said Yevin. "I was definitely a girly-girl, but I played softball. I had a little tough side to me."
She also excelled in the sciences during high school and entered Penn intending to major in one of them. But during college, she remained creative, and while taking a break from Penn to study abroad in London, Yevin discovered a passion for writing lyrics.
"I was working on a performance art piece that I needed a song for, and then all of a sudden, I was writing all these songs - just out of nowhere. It's something I've fallen into."
Upon returning from London, her strong feelings for her Ivy League alma mater waned.
"When I went back to Penn, I was so bored with the crowd there," she relayed. "All the same kids - pre-med. I started spending more time outside the campus and inside Philly."
With her newfound song-writing abilities and distaste for the Penn scene, she began to perform shows at her loft at 42nd and Delancey streets, where she met Melissa Shadows, aka D.J. Lava, who now serves as Shiragirl's D.J.
"The kitchen was like a stage," said Yevin. "There were all kinds of parties. It was cool."
She also frequented other clubs off-campus.
Now that she's hooked up with the Warped Tour, you'd think that life would be good for Yevin, but rock 'n' roll's not always glamorous.
"It's a really harsh environment," she said. "We're living 10 people in that small, small R.V. We're supposed to be only six, but one of the bands crashed their van on the second day of the tour, and we kind of took them in. It's been rough."
When she gets a break from touring and recording songs, Yevin, who was raised Jewish, enjoys time with her family.
In fact, she just celebrated with them: "I really respect the holidays," she said. "I love being with my family on Rosh Hashanah."
Yevin - who said some of her musical influences are Gwen Stefani, Pink and Madonna, rock stars whose performance styles, wardrobes and repertoire have all evolved throughout their careers - understands that to stay creative, her music will have to evolve.
"I know that I expect my style to change over the years," she acknowledged. "I've always liked music that was really fun and danceable, but at the same time has a positive message."