Teri Gender Bender, lead singer of glam-punk trio Le Butcherettes, has put less shock and more seduction into her act these days.
Before I ever saw them, sources like Allmusic.com say the band burst into Los Angeles with shock tactics and depictions of women as slaves. But today, Ms. Gender Bender is all about putting herself into her music, as she demonstrated in a recent show at the Rock and Roll Hotel.
At various times, she might purr or hiss, sway or strut, whisper or howl, depending on the song. The audience, a very nearly sold-out crowd on Nov. 5, was enraptured.
Le Butcherettes open with the deceptively simple “Dress Off,” from their debut album Sin Sin Sin. The track lyrically suggests sex without actually stating it, but the music is much more catchy and complex. It’s a great warm up song that tells you what Le Butcherettes sound like and how they might perform as the drum beats keep coming fast and Ms. Gender Bender wails into the microphone.
Next, the band moves into the much more thematically complex “Demon Stuck in Your Eye” from their second album, this year’s Cry Is for the Flies. And you can see an expansion of the band’s sonic palette with more subtle guitars.
Later in the set, Le Butcherettes return to a simple concept with “I’m Getting Sick of You”–the point of which is that our lovely singer is sick of someone after two weeks. But the intensity of the performance remains high as Teri Gender Bender screeches her lyrics while banging away on her guitar, maintaining that appealing Le Butcherettes punk sound.
Set closer “Gold Notebook” puts Gender Bender behind the keyboards, a station she embraces with the same smoldering intensity as her guitar.
Le Butcherettes most certainly bring a liveliness to their performance you may find lacking on their recordings. While bringing in Henry Rollins for a spoken word track on their latest album may seem like an attempt to coopt some punk cred, seeing Le Butcherettes live demonstrates they are talented enough to simply do what they want to do. They play really well, they sound really good, and it’s a pleasure to see their lead singer strut her stuff.
Le Butcherettes continue to tour as the opening act for Antemasque, the latest band from their producer Omar Rodríguez-López, with a date at The Middle East in Cambridge, Mass., tomorrow and then New York, Toronto, Detroit and Chicago thereafter. If, like me, sultry female punk rockers who occasionally unleash their inner banshee are your thing, make time to catch the opener!