Le Butcherettes Light Up, Burn Down The Roundhouse
I confess I’d not heard of Le Butcherettes before I was aware I’d be seeing them support At The Drive-In at their London show, and figured I’d approach the show with an open mind, neglecting to research the band (a garage punk outfit from Guadalajara, Mexico) beforehand. The trio walk on to the stage without fanfare, and I have to scramble to get to the photo pit. The matching red outfits they wear and a red throw under the keyboard are the only real additions to the stage-there is no back drop, a simple light show-and it quickly becomes apparent that this is enough.
The first thing to strike you, as the band fire up, is how much noise the trio make. Chris Common and Riko Rodríguez-López form the rhythm section on drums and guitar respectively, while band founder and frontwoman Teri Gender Bender switches between guitar, keyboard, and neither. Common and Rodríguez-López are energetic and fairly accomplished, thrashing out the, at times anthemic, at others garage-syle rock.
It is, however, Gender Bender who provides the ‘show’, if you were so disengaged as to call it that. For some watching, and waiting for the headliners, standing at the bar, perhaps her aggressive movements across the stage, contorted facial expressions and furious gesticulation were just this, a stage show-which should have been enough to capture their attention anyway. But it’s more than that-Teri embodies the raw punk music she and her bandmates play, the passion for her message, beliefs and art manifesting themselves. With song titles like ‘Shave The Pride’, ‘They Fuck You Over’ and ‘I’m Getting Sick Of You’ it would be disappointing to witness anything else. The lyrics often seem unintelligible, lost in the fury with which they are sung (though it’s possible I’m simply not paying enough attention). The few words spoken at the start and between songs are mostly in Spanish and so I’m none the wiser.
They are a good fit, Le Butcherettes, as a support band for post-hardcore legends At The Drive-In. While the audience response may have been lacking in several respects, it was notable how their attention was fixed, centred on this band and more importantly the furious, enigmatic frontwoman who demanded their attention.