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Ramonda Hammer At Women Fuck Shit Up Fest At The Smell, Saturday February 27th 2016

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Ramonda Hammer

 

This Women Fuck Shit Up Fest at the Smell had a provocative name and conceived to empower women, so it was expectedly attended by a lot of females as any successful girl-power event would be. Nevertheless, there were bands which included guys, and we were fine with that as long as they had a frontwoman! This was the case for Ramonda Hammer, an LA quartet who played an explosive set around 10:30 pm. The fest had already showcased multiple talents since 6 pm but many people had stayed to see the band rock their tunes out.

I said rock out, but in fact Ramonda Hammer had a poppy heart hiding behind a raging and grunge-y energy, that clearly burst on stage with a ballet of guitars and bass, and the right amount of chaos. They played their relatively short set – about 12 bands had to squeeze their respective sets the same evening – but it was enough time to conquer the crowd, which was acclaiming them at the end of their set. Singer-guitarist Devin Davis was front stage, singing with her almost plaintive voice and a sort of Alanis Morissette’s angst, getting more and more passionate as the songs were escalading into a muscular wall of sound, thanks to bandmates Andy Hengl, Justin Geter and Danny Louangxay. They call themselves grunge-pop, and their sound was expansive and loud, hitting hard with punching-aggressive drums and fiery distorted guitars, carrying the music with a bass-guitar dialogue layered à la early U2,… and this is when you realize you have mostly 90’s bands in your mind? But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a 90’s throwback, their sound was fresh, starting like quiet pop songs, then getting into tempo changes and interesting chord progressions, while blending the familiar and the unconventional.

And in case you would be wondering, their moniker comes from a reality TV character, and the video for their first 2016 single ‘Goddamn idiot’ (a song they played on Saturday night) is a spoof off of a 90’s familiar TV show (Cheaters). Could I envision drama during their set? Certainly, and this could explain why Devin Davis’ vocals were poignant at times, maintaining a raucous tone while being at the verge of breaking apart, during songs dealing with heartbreaks and self-destruction.

There were still a few bands left to play after them, and the crowd was nevertheless asking for more of Ramonda Hammer’s explosive rawness… but I guess we will have to wait for their summer tour and an album set to be released sometimes in 2016.

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