Review and photography by Rodney Gitzel
Revulva seem to have a bit of a buzz going, lately, so I was anxious to finally be seeing them. They were cool! Tonight they were a trio -- their bass player wasn't there, necessitating a shift in instruments all 'round. What do they play? Punk rock, basically. I guess. The vocals were... part singing, part opera, part shrieking, part falsetto. Rocky Horror? The Dead Kennedies as women? I dunno, but the word "teutonic" kept coming to mind. They played songs with lyrics like, "There's a bug in my beer/There's a breast in my headlock." Or maybe not, maybe my earplugs were just in too tight.
The band had no shortage of confidence and personality on stage, with the singer having an especially animated face, making them fun to just watch. The geeky glasses didn't hurt, either. Cool bass work, by the way, from the usually guitarist, and they had Andrea Hector from Liquid Amber come up to do backing vocals on their last song, something about "I don't wanna sleep with you (yah, yah, yah)." Cool.
Speaking of Ms. Hector, I must admit to being a little taken aback by her. Listening to her band's CD, Breed, I imagined her to be... maybe somewhat Lee Aaron-esque... maybe tall and husky, with poofy black hair... BZZZT! Wrong. A diminutive blonde with black lipstick and hair all tightly braided up, her appearance very much belied her commanding voice, making her an oddly enigmatic frontwoman for the band.
Liquid Amber opened their set with a blistering version of "Qadesh," easily demonstrating their tightness and strength as a band. Well, no, that's a lie, they actually opened with a bout of howling ("we can't start the show without the traditional howl!") -- just like on their CD. The powerful sound, however, was no lie.
If sorta bluesy hard rock appeals to you, then this is a band to check out, both live and on disc. There's nothing very unique about Liquid Amber (other than the howling), but with Hector's strong voice and a solid band to match it, they do well what they do. Even if they did lose a bit of their punch by the end of the night's performance.
"Hi, we're Spiritual Heroine. We're a little bit different." Indeed. Starting off with the strange "Creepy" from their very cool CD, This Body is Stolen, they wound their way through a short set that included new and old material, as well as a cover of the Cure's "The Blood" (somehow I can't see Robert Smith dancing the way Camille Baker does when she sings the song).
S.H. are different, mixing, for instance, rock and Middle East music without resorting to being Led Zeppelin. Mix in blues and new wave. Mix in their new violinist -- she's not Ashley MacIsaac, but she's working on it -- and Baker's malleable voice. Mix in solid chops and solid songs. But please don't mix in goons playing soccer in front of the stage. Geez, is this a concert or a circus? Sigh.
Anyway. So how was the venue itself? Well, not that impressive. Looks like it would be a good local, a place to go for a beer with friends. But for music? The soused sound tech who babbled on and on between bands and the late late (11:15!) start to the show were bad enough. Said tech also took upon himself to berate anyone who didn't like Revulva, advising them that there were exits at the front and at the back. Classy. Gee, I wonder who's going to be upset when there aren't any customers? The elevated cage that bands played in also left the bands isolated from the audience. But, hey, lose the railing on the stage and the drunken organizers and maybe it would be an ok place to see live music...
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