Veronique Allaer, guitarist and vocalist for Cincinnati-based band Leggy, loves only one thing more than the community the band introduced her to: touring. “If I could see my partner when I was on tour, then I would probably tour forever,” Allaer says. “It’s a different city every day, you get to meet people and bond with people at the shows and the opening bands. … It’s just really sweet.” On June 8, Leggy will head out on its tour throughout the Midwest and East Coast. The Ophelias, also based in Cincinnati, will join Leggy for more than half of the tour dates.
Allaer, Kirsten Bladh (bassist and vocalist for Leggy), and Spencer Peppet (vocalist and guitarist for The Ophelias) all attended Ursuline Academy together, just a few years apart. It wasn’t until after both bands had entered the Cincinnati music scene, however, that they met. A few shared shows on the way to South By Southwest Music Festival and a blossoming friendship later, it was obvious Leggy and The Ophelias belonged on a lineup together. “We were pretty much like, ‘We have to go on tour together,’ ” Allaer says. “Leggy already had a short tour lined up, so we just [asked The Ophelias to join].”
People have this mindset that you can’t be sexy and feminine and be cool, heavy, and punk.
Of the more than two dozen tours that Leggy has done, this is the first that Allaer hasn’t planned herself. Instead, she worked with a booking agent, which she believes has helped the planning process immensely. As women in a male-dominated scene, Allaer and Peppet have both experienced challenges working with venues and others in the industry; whether it be playing a sold-out show for little more than pocket change or being patronized by venue employees. “People like women in music as long as they’re not powerful,” Peppet says. “They like women in music as long as they’re not infringing on the power that men hold in those spaces. So, as long as you’re docile, as long as you’re non-confrontational, as long as you don’t try to get what you want, they’ll allow you to be there.”
Fortunately, Leggy and The Ophelias have found a community within Cincinnati’s music scene that is unconditionally welcoming and accepting of non-males and people of color. “To have these two bands that are very much not [all male] coming out and doing stuff together, it’s cool,” Peppet says. “It’s cool to see the scene kind of changing and more bands led by women and non-binary people coming to the forefront.”
The challenges that Allaer and Peppet expect to experience while on tour don’t outweigh their excitement, though. Both bands have already scheduled time to bond and explore the cities they’re visiting beyond the windows of their tour van.
Though Allaer and Peppet have similar personalities, their bands’ styles couldn’t be more different … but we think that’s what makes them the perfect complement to each other. The contrast is sure to show on this tour. With Leggy’s “lush punk, bubblegum pop, cynical” blend, Allaer, Bladh, and drummer Chris Campbell loudly make their presence known on stage. But, between guitar solos, Allaer captivates the audience in a completely different way: with her flirty, feminine personality. “People have this mindset that you can’t be sexy and feminine and be cool, heavy, and punk,” she says. “I would be a pop star if I could, [but] people are [also] going to be surprised at how heavy we go and how much we bring it.”
Peppet and her bandmates (bassist Grace Weir, drummer Micaela Adams, and violinist Andrea Gutmann Fuentes), however, aren’t as loud. The “pop-influenced orchestral, indie rock” group entrances the audience with Peppet’s vulnerable songwriting rather than shredding on a guitar. “We don’t shred,” Peppet says. “But, I like to think that we’re an intricate band. There’s a lot of moving parts and pieces and people are weird about it because I don’t do guitar solos. [But, we’re] dynamic.”