Kera and the Lesbians with Girlpool, Heathers, DJ Devendra Banhart
October 10, 2014
Friday night was a momentous occasion for fans of Kera and the Lesbians, who have created quite the buzz for their seductively psychotic sound (which they humorously describe as "bipolar folk"), explosive performances, and a moniker that's vying for the title of best band name of 2014. But it was perhaps even a bigger deal for the trio themselves.
After driving 17 straight hours from Portland to Los Angeles, the third to last stop on the band's West Coast tour, Kera and the Lesbians made it home to celebrate the recent release of their beautiful music video for "Snakes" and deliver some very special goodies to the sold-out crowd: The first 100 people to arrive received a mix tape curated by frontwoman Kera Armendariz and drummer Michael Delaney, and there was on-site screen printing of a poster made for — and only available at — last night's show.
Despite being, by her own admission, completely exhausted, Armendariz and her band gave one of the most rambunctious performances we've seen of late.
It was a stacked lineup for lovers of raw, tempestuous rock and roll. Girlpool, the barely-legal bass-and-guitar duo, brought their twangy, stripped-down punk to their last L.A. show before heading off to tour the East Coast and Europe for the next two months. Heathers, who toured with Girlpool throughout the summer, followed with the kind of melodramatic indie rock that makes you reminisce about the thrill and frustration of your unrequited high school crush.
Devendra Banhart — whom Armendariz has named as her hero — acted as resident DJ for the evening and effectively mesmerized the entire audience, staring starry-eyed at the deck as he dropped a finely tuned, funky playlist ranging from indie house artist Jai Paul to '80s English soul ensemble Central Line to Irish post-punk act PH.
Kera and the Lesbians blazed right into their set, which at times felt like an interpretive dance-off between frontwoman Armendariz and bassist Phil MacNitt, who has the shiniest, most gorgeous mane of hair we've seen outside of a ranch.
Speaking of hair: For a woman with half her head shaved, Armendariz sure knew how to make hers fly, as she swung her head in circles and gyrated like she was possessed by an unseen puppet master.
There were quieter moments in the set when Armendariz stood still (kind of), but even when her body wasn't doing gymnastics, her face was there to pick up the slack. With a seismic voice that would lilt and tremble before erupting into a full-blown quake, she made each song unpredictable.
Halfway through the set the band brought on a harpist and played "Snakes" as their freshly released video, featuring Armendariz in a crown of thorns, played behind them.
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Some girl from the audience jumped on stage and started dancing next to the band, unbeknownst to Armendariz. She discovered this after nearly smacking the woman in the face with her guitar. She smiled instantly, shouting out to the fan, "You're brave!" It was a moment of unrestrained, reciprocated passion — an invitation to the audience into the world of Armendariz and her Lesbians, which is, evidently, a great place to be.