Ears are practically still leaking gray matter from local metal act Water Became Blood’s vicious final notes when Ledaswan’s ready to play.
“We’re going to change it up a bit here,” Ledaswan lead vocalist and sometimes guitarist Erica Gutierrez says, and it’s a huge understatement. Gutierrez addresses the mic on tiptoes, looking less like a rock goddess than a porcelain doll in her small plaid dress. She’s tiny, but opener “Where Birds Go” takes no time proving her voice is huge, and confident enough to repackage guitarists David and (former Current staffer) Jaime Monzon’s Bloody Valentines and pull the audience’s gaze from its shoes. New bassist and backup singer Jackee Flores provides echo-chamber harmony; together their vocals propel a song that might coast on guitar jangle alone. “The New 60s,” which actually finds Gutierrez adopting the jaded sing-speech of late ’70s English-suburb punk, is less exhilarating for the rest of the band’s largely staying the hell out of her way. Gutierrez can carry a song by herself, no doubt, but, considering the number of talented musicians onstage, there’s no reason to.
Dreamy suicide ballad “.357” strikes a better compromise — Gutierrez pauses often enough for the meticulously crafted instrumentals to create a hazy atmosphere, and the rest of the band clears space for her voice to sound lonely and haunted in all the right spots. “Bruised by Default,” on the other hand, finds beauty in the struggle, but Gutierrez refuses to drown beneath the Monzon brothers’ no-wave; she grows defiantly more melodic each time she resurfaces. To put it another way, “Head On,” the Jesus and Mary Chain cover that closes the set, sounds conventionally poppy in comparison.
A new song with the working title “56 Chevy” is something else entirely, fitting Gutierrez’s sock-hop delivery to drummer Delrick Colwell’s relentless pace — nearly frantic yet precise enough to qualify as baggy — upping the tension by never giving the sonorous guitars room to resonate. The penultimate “Class of 88” culminates in the distorted release of the all-out guitar war promised but never fully delivered by the evening’s previously restrained instrumental breaks. The band reveals impressive depth when they let the song open up, but I respect them for making me wait.
Friday, June 19
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