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Review: Le Butcherettes at El Club – 2.23.19

by David Gimpel

Le Butcherettes were spotted late last year supporting Death From Above, and now they’re back! This time around, the Mexican punk band are true headliners (where they belong) for their new album bi/MENTAL. Interesting fun fact: the album is produced by Talking Heads/Modern Lovers bass player, Jerry Harrison. If you like your music forward thinking and intense, give this one a spin.

The fiery up-and-coming band Stars At Night opened things up. Their influences are similar to Le Butcherettes, ranging from muscular riffs of Black Sabbath to the disco punk of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their ragging cover of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” made it totally worth getting there early. I always can appreciate an opening band that holds my attention the entire set.

Le Butcherettes took the stage next. They’re a group that must be seen to understand, they put on a performance that can be hard to describe. The group’s front woman, Terri Gender Bender, commands your attention unlike any other performer. She started out chanting in Spanish while wearing an Indian head dress and shaking maracas. Setting the tone for the ritual that was about to take place.

The thunderous opening notes of “Burn the Scab” begin as Teri plays the keyboards and guitar, all while dancing, wailing and flailing herself around the stage. Even writing that seems ridiculous, but you can it’s genuinely her as a performer. The music is intimate, intense and personal, and this is her way of letting out her emotions.

The bulk of the set came from their newest album and lyrically it’s the group’s most personal effort with include songs about family problems and the loss of parents. The highlight of the new tracks for me is “strong / ENOUGH.” It’s clearly about a broken heart, but when performed live you can really feel the emotions spark.

Her backing band is ferocious, too. Alejandra Robles Luna is one of the best drummers I’ve seen in a long time. Riko Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar) and Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez (bass) are brothers of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta fame. The band was at best during the songs like the insanely catchy “Stab My Back,” the spooky “La Uva,” and the chaotic set closer “The Leibniz Language.”

The band came out for one more song, the emotional centerpiece of the new album, “Mother / HOLDS.” Teri walked out into the crowd hugging and serenading the fans. A sentimental way to end such a high-energy, unpredictable performance.  

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