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Summer Cannibals With Cheekface And Flames Of Durga At the Redwood Bar, Sunday April 14th 2019

Summer Cannibals

 

The Redwood bar nights often start late but they are filled with unexpected surprises and discoveries.

The L.A. trio Cheekface opened the night with a series of fast to mid-tempo pop-punk tunes sung by guitarist Greg Katz, with a semi-morose tone halfway between the Soft Pack and Parquet Courts. There were nevertheless a few surprises, like a more noise-oriented morose song, ‘Glendale’, an atmospheric original slow burn, gently beaten by a cowbell echoing Mark Echo Edwards’ metronomic drumming, and sweetened up by bassist Amanda Tannen’s humming background vocals. Katz’s deadpan delivery and the mantra-like style of some of their songs were full of inventiveness, with lyrics going into laid-back mundanity or poking at politics. All I can say is that there was a lot of creativity, diversity, and poetic craft in Cheekface’s set which was even punctuated by some power pop choruses, so engaging  that they made me want to give a spin to ‘Therapy Island’, their first full length

Flames of Durga (named after the warrior goddess from Hindu theology which also means ‘the invincible’) is a band that carries its moniker with pride and passion. The power rock trio, two twin sisters, Beah & Cecilia Romero, and their drummer Nate Million incarnate true rock n’ roll with a ferocious attitude. With raccoon masks drawn on their faces, the two sisters looked like wild warriors and they did front the band with perfect badass symmetry and the swagger of rock veterans. The show was all sexy black leather, power riffs, and sweat, with the twins’ layered vocals often turning into gut-wrenching shrieks or throat-scratching screams, soaring at the top of the loud distortion coming from their guitar and bass. The multiple riffs were in full attack mode, constantly fueled by some all-fired up drumming, and the result was an explosive, high-energy number accompanied by the right poses as they never stop hair banging, kneeling down, jumping on the amps and doing a signature back bend like some ‘80s hard rocker. The fierce twin warriors and their restless drummer gave to the crowd an impressive rock show, driven by heavy bass and an unapologetic attitude.

Summer Cannibals, a band from Portland fronted by another fierce woman, did not let us the time to recover with another highly-charged set. Most of the songs had plenty of energy with a thick and tough sound, while a few other ones started on a more low-key melodic level before gaining full force in fuzz while oscillating between angst and serene anger. Guitarist-vocalist Jessica Boudreaux cut her teeth when she started playing with local heroes such as L7, Mudhoney, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and The War on Drugs, and it shows, especially in her electrifying guitar attacks. the band is currently in the middle of a big US tour, still playing songs of their 2016 ‘Full of It’ album, released on Kill Rock Stars, and playing new ones, as they are preparing a new release, which should be out on Tiny Engines during this summer.  The quartet has already toured with Cursive, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Titus Andronicus, CHVRCHES, and has recorded with producer Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees and Wild Flag) so Boudreaux’s raw guitar antics should not have come as a surprise, and her fights with her female guitarist certainly brought to mind the moves of some fearless riot grrrls of the Pacific Northwest.

The night closed with an impromptu acoustic set by Jesse Hughes who played a few classic bluesy-rock covers and some Eagles of Death Metal songs, just because he was there? Who knows,… Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds was also in the crowd, and although he only drank beers and didn’t touch a guitar, his presence added another level of badass rock ‘n’ roll, as Sunday night was a very rocking night at the Redwood bar.

Cheekface

Flames of Durga

Summer Cannibals

Cheekface

Flames of Durga

Summer Cannibals

Cheekface

Flames of Durga

Summer Cannibals

Cheekface

Flames of Durga

Summer Cannibals

Cheekface

Flames of Durga

Summer Cannibals

Flames of Durga

Jesse Hughes

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