Women on the front lines? I’m all for it, especially when the ladies dig deeply into the trenches of extreme music and descend like combat-ready valkyries upon Vegas.
All-girl Glendale, California-based Chicana pop-punk band Go Betty Go gets going at 10 p.m. February 9 at the Bunkhouse. The quartet released a cool EP and album for the SideOneDummy label in the “mid-aughts.” But a hard life on the road despite success on the Warped Tour caused the band to break up as they were gaining momentum. They reformed last year and have been playing shows all over the Golden State, with Vegas serving as their sole foray into the Southwest. Go Betty Go specializes in straight-up, catchy-as-hell, melodic punk with curveballs thrown in—like Latin-grooved, reggae-kissed, flamenco-guitared, Spanish-language “No Hay Perdon,” which I hope they’ll perform live. Local all-female garage-rockers The Seriouslys and Henderson all-dude comedy-rockers The Forget Me Nows share the bill.
If that’s not gritty enough for you, how about the female drummer who co-leads/co-sings in Vegas blues-rock trio the Dirty Hooks? I wrote about Jenine Cali and her ferocious yet tuneful band a lot last year, and the Hooks are finally getting the notice they deserve from local entertainment rags. Shoot, they even played Vinyl in the Hard Rock (opening for Mike Watt). The band is still riding high on the acclaim heaped upon 2012 full-length Electric Grit, which gets better every time I spin it. (My new favorite track is sensual yet aggressive “Breakin’ the Skin,” in which Cali sings, Bang, bang, let me in/I’m all broke and razor-blade thin. I’m curious to experience the band in an intimate club such as Artifice, which they rock at 10 p.m. February 9. Local synth-rockers Love Vendetta and dark psych-jammers Dinosaur Hypnosis share the bill.
Metal is enjoying an awesome gender-uplifting renaissance with a slew of female-fronted bands headbanging their way to the fore. Christian Mistress, Witch Mountain and Landmine Marathon (playing the Bunkhouse March 19, yay!) are some critically acclaimed, increasingly popular groups helping redefine the genre’s typically masculine sound and lyrical themes.
Vegas hosts Castle, a lady-led juggernaut from San Francisco at 10 p.m. February 10 at the Bunkhouse. Bassist Elizabeth Blackwell’s voice is heavier than heaven, louder than love and a melodic foil for guitarist Mat Davis’ and new touring (woman) drummer Rae Amitay’s (Mares of Thrace) thrash-tinged, fire-eating doom-metal grooves. Castle’s songs are daringly, poetically constructed. My favorite is the menacing “Corpse Candles” from the band’s 2012 sophomore CD Blacklands. In it, Blackwell sings, like a ghost-haunted Edgar Allan Poe, Deathly white, lifelike fright/Frozen masks of pained delight/A thousand eyes shine dead light/And drip like wax into the night. Can’t wait to see this trio light it up. Vegas’ own female-fronted Demon Lung opens.