Live & Local

A heavilyy distorted pop-punk guitar riff introduces the Nancy Silva Project’s opener, “Everything,” off the band’s two-track single released with BMS Music Distribution. The Project — featuring Jesse Avila on drums, Joel Martinez on bass, and Rai de la Cruz on guitar — sounds like an homage to the late-’90s post-grunge, alternative-rock days. Letters to Cleo but with a heavier edge.

An alarming number of cameras go off in the small floor area surrounding the band — fans trying to capture shots of tiny guitarist and vocalist Silva, who sports a combination of glitter, skulls, stripes, and stars.

Her presence oozes glam-goth excitement in an over-the-top, almost-Harajuku sense, and she flips her hot-pink-, blond-, and black-streaked hair when she enthusistically poses for pictures mid-song.

Silva’s guitar performance never gets lost but its actual noise becomes background. “Hurt” at first sounds like it’s going to break toward metal, but the song soon slows for De La Cruz’s heavy rhythms and Silva’s nasal, bleeding whine. “It’s killing me, why can’t you see?” Silva’s facial expressions match the lyrics — both have relationship angst slobbered all over them.

“Over My Head” offers an everlasting flow of clichés adorned with catchy, power-pop-punk, Gwen Stefani style. Martinez spends most of the song jumping and thrusting his bass above his body, sweat smearing his eyeliner.

“Thinking of You” cools the pace with a delicate guitar blend and slow-burning balladry. Guitarist De La Cruz remains composed for most of the show while Silva and Martinez dance chaotically. Silva sings with her left leg behind her in a lunge position, as if to hold herself up.

Their cover of Alanis Morissette’s 2005 hit “Uninvited” comes as a complete surprise. Avila, who’s been sitting in Silva and Martinez’s shadows, stands to create grand, orchestra-worthy vibrations. Silva hits Morissette’s notes beautifully, but the band seems stuck inside a time capsule.

Their most popular song, “Letting Go” (see the video at, is a combination of sweet vocal interludes clashing with cheesy ascents. The crowd becomes a mob, banging heads and holding up rock-out hand gestures.

The band can’t leave without playing an encore, egged on by committed but never-sated fans, still flashing away at Silva.

— Imelda Vergara


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