LIVE: Le Butcherettes (w/ Big Joanie) – Moth Club, Hackney 02.03.19

Fueled by almighty vocals, hefty guitar riffs and commanding percussion; Le Butcherettes‘ powerful sound ricocheted around the glittered walls of Moth Club last week. Celebrating the release of their fourth album bi/MENTAL, the group delivered a passionate mix of old and new material to their London fans.

Opening the night were DIY garage punks Big Joanie, who were in high spirits having just returned from playing SXSW. The trio’s understated and relatable sounds went down well with the crowd, with ‘Fall Asleep’, ‘Used To Be Friends’ and ‘Down Down’ proving to be the strongest songs in their set.

Cited as their most personal album to date, bi/MENTAL is an ode to Le Butcherettes’ frontwoman Teri Gender Bender’s Mother, and the tracks were as visceral and vulnerable performed live as they are on the record. Teri’s trademark falsetto voice was breath-taking. She flitted between screams, cries and authoritative vocals which matched her erratic but focused performance style. Her band mates – Alejandra Robles Luna (drums), Rikardo Rodríguez-López (guitars) and Marfred Rodríguez-López (bass) – performed with equal amounts of energy; switching between off-kilter sounds and infectious, rolling rhythms with enviable precision.

Teri’s howls and cries cut through the air when she broke the fourth wall and entered the centre of the crowd mid-set and laid on her back. She commanded attention wherever she stood, and spoke fluent Spanish between songs to keep listeners on their toes. As for stand out tracks, it’s difficult to pick just one – but ‘give/UP’ and ‘struggle/STRUGGLE’ stood out among the set list. Both felt like seething, buzzing explorations of grief despite their opposing tempos.

Inspired by the “the death of a living mother”, the duality of life, and the inevitable strife caused by the fluctuation of mental health; Le Butcherettes bi/MENTAL is a cathartic burst of emotive rock designed to clear the cobwebs between your ears – and the band’s live set does exactly that.

Catch Le Butcherettes on their upcoming UK live dates:
Tues 9th July – Boston Music Rooms, London
Weds 10th – Green Door Store, Brighton
Thurs 11th – 2000 Trees Festival, Cheltenham

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Le Butcherettes – ‘bi/MENTAL’

A vivid exploration of maternal relationships, enduring grief, and coping with the many faceted mental health issues encountered along the way; Le Butcherettes‘ new album bi/MENTAL is a potent infusion of almighty vocals, hefty guitar riffs, and commanding percussion. Released via Rise Records, the band’s fourth album was produced by Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison (No Doubt, Violent Femmes, KD Lang) and recorded at his home studio in Northern California.

Cited as their most personal album to date, bi/MENTAL is an ode to frontwoman Teri Gender Bender’s mother. She states that with the aid of producer Jerry, she was able to be “vulnerable and in-your-face at the same time” and that freedom permeates bi/MENTAL. Opener ‘spider/WAVES’ is six minutes of off-kilter unhinged sound, dominated by Teri’s trademark falsetto vocals and accompanied by spoken word from Dead Kennedys’ front man, Jello Biafra. It leads in to the knockout ‘give/UP’ lamenting the struggles surrounding grief. The opening line paints a morbid picture – “I’ve been putting off for days / a visitation to your grave” – but Teri’s passionate delivery and the infectious, rolling rhythms make this track a real blood-pumping tune that’s hard to sit still to.

‘strong/ENOUGH’ is an anthem of defiance and acceptance – “I’m not the kind of girl you thought I was” – whilst ‘father/ELOHIM’ explores a narrative of reckless behaviour and freedom. ‘little/MOUSE’ follows, before the scratchy nostalgic opening of ‘in/THE END’ breaks through, developing in to a retrospective ballad about faithlessness. A seething, buzzing bass line dominates ‘nothing/BUT TROUBLE’, whilst the sultry vocals of Chilean vocalist Mon Laferte take centre stage on ‘la/SANDÍA’.

Gritty guitar and psych-tinged keys meet on ‘struggle/STRUGGLE’ where pain and grief culminate in a speaking-in-tongues outro from Teri. ‘dressed/IN A MATTER OF SPEECH’ follows, before the unsettling screams and screeches of ‘mothers/HOLDS’ conquer the next three minutes of the record. Featuring the vocals of Alice Bag, ‘mothers/HOLDS’ is an example of the dark magic that’s conjured when two assertive, defiant women come together to create art.

The heady, mesmeric sounds on the penultimate ‘sand/MAN’ are followed by closing track ‘/BREATH’. It has a gentle opening, with slow guitar and a child-like voice sample interrupting intermittently like an old memory, but that’s swiftly discarded around the two minute mark. The track kicks back in in true raucous Le Butcherettes fashion, closing the record on a willful, assertive note.

Inspired by the “the death of a living mother”, the duality of life, and the inevitable strife caused by the fluctuation of mental health; Le Butcherettes bi/MENTAL is a cathartic burst of emotional rock music designed to clear the cobwebs between your ears.

Listen to bi/MENTAL on Spotify here.
Follow Le Butcherettes on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut