Los Bitchos in Toyland: Serra Petale, guitarist with London-based indie rockers Los Bitchos, told us about her Babes in Toyland experience.

Babes in Toyland, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, 2015.

Serra Petale: Absolutely blew my head off. This is a band that I never thought I would ever see live. They had pretty much called it quits around 1997 after their third and final album Nemesisters (which has one of my favourite covers of Sister Sledge’s “We are Family”). I can remember seeing their video for “Bruise Violet” randomly while flicking through some music channels, and just thought it was the coolest thing ever, one of those “I wanna do that” moments.

It’s safe to say that listening to their music changed my life, Kat Bjelland is one of the first ladies of grunge that inspired me to get off my ass and start a band. She’s such a dynamic front woman and you can tell she really means it over her deranged shrieks and yells. Their production is so raw and listening to them always makes you feel like I’m in the room with them. The magic between her, drummer Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman was every bit as evident when they finally reunited and toured again. It was a really simple set up on stage, drums, bass, guitar and vocals. Mind blowing. They just rocked.

There was no extra flare on stage, no fancy pyrotechnics or visuals, just the raw talent of this band, playing their hearts out. Kat’s vocals were absolutely perfect and so out of control, Lori was killing it on drums, Maureen’s bass lines were absolutely savage. It was like I was listening to their records but better. One of those gigs that I never wanted to end. Every song they played was just magical and it totally took me back to how I first felt when I heard them.

Babes in Toyland are a raw, badass group of ladies who just go for it and make killer music. This line up was no longer around shortly after this tour, with Maureen Herman leaving the band and they officially disbanded again in 2020. I thank my lucky stars that I got to see one of the best grunge bands there ever was. If there’s anything they taught me it’s that you just gotta go for it and be who you are when you’re performing; the more deranged, the more energy and the more out of control, the better.

Los Bitchos’ single “Good to Go!” is out now. The album Let the Festivities Begin! is out February 4 via City Slang Records.

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