“The Best Gig I Ever Saw” is a new weekly column, which will see us ask a musician to chat about their favorite concert thus far. This week it’s Aixa Vilar, drummer with local punks Go Betty Go.

Wild Belle

Thinking back on the best gig I ever attended is a difficult feat, especially when you’re in Los Angeles, where live music of all genres is always happening.

I first discovered Wild Belle in 2016 while casually watching The Tonight Show in the background one night. This was the first time since seeing Green Day on SNL playing “Basket Case” as a teen that a band had really captured my full and undivided attention on TV. To me, they sounded as if Joe Strummer, No Doubt and The Police (all favorites of mine) had produced a musical offspring. I immediately looked them up and was thrilled to see they would be playing at the Echoplex shortly after that TV performance.

The show was sold out but luckily I managed to get some tickets. The moment siblings Natalie and Elliot Bergman, and from what I remember was a six- or seven-piece band, stepped onstage, I got chills. The lights, the sound, their presence was jaw-dropping and I didn’t stop moving my feet from start to end. The entire show was a full spectacle of excellent musicianship, showmanship and just exhilarating energy that lasted through their full set. Their mix of funky old-school reggae, rock steady, polyrhythmic arrangements with a bit of rock & roll and Natalie’s raspy melodic vocals blew me away.

By the time I went to this show, I had already listened to their two albums several times and had become a fan. The live show just sealed the deal and proved they were the real thing! Not just a polished-up act that looked and sounded good on TV. I’m a punk rock drummer and find myself involved more in the punk circuit, so it was quite a treat to see this band live and hear many of my personal influences mixed into their unique sound.

LA Weekly