Le Butcherettes at The Black Heart, Camden

Support: The Picturebooks
October 15, 2016 at The Black Heart, Camden

A Friday night gig buzz greets all those in attendance for Le Butcherettes return to these shores as part of their current European tour. Led by the dynamic and purposeful Teri Gender Bender they have bagged an impressive amount of support slots, especially in the States, which has led to Teri collaborating under the banner of Crystal Fairy with Buzz Ozbourne and Dale Crover from The Melvins and Omar Rodirguez-Lopez of At the Drive in fame, which is scheduled for an early 2017 release. But tonight she brings her co-butcherettes and their justice seeking, punk spirited rage to the intimate Our Black Heart pub located in the heart of Camden.

First up, two-piece The Picturebooks are the touring support act (later having to cancel due to an illness to drummer Phillip Mirtschink) look and sound like they’ve crawled out of an alligator invested swampy cesspit from hell. Mirtschink thumps the drums, literally swinging his arms from head height, so brings a hefty thunderous impact to their slow Swampy Blues rock grooves. ‘Your Kisses burn like fire’, is all fervent male sexual desire, ‘The rabbit and the Wolf’ along with the very promising catchy new track ‘Bad habits die hard’ are the highlights of a well-received opening set. They will be back next year for the 2017 Desertfest and announce they will be playing at the stone throw’s away Underworld venue.

Le Butcherettes arrive on stage with Teresa Suarez’s alter ego Teri Gender Bender scarily focused. Thick stripes of red lipstick under each eye converges between a Red Indian and American footballer. Originally dressed in a dark coloured all in one suit but as the show commences she peels away items of clothing until she is clad in her prevailing customary red outfit, which for Le Butcherettes is a symbol of rebirth.

When she removes the guitar and takes centre stage with microphone in hand to sing ‘Dress off’ she is immersed so intensely into the act, body shaking wildly and hands frantically pulling at her red dress as she repeatedly howls ‘You take my fucking dress off.’ Realisation hits on the sheer heart and soul she puts in, before flinging herself unexpectedly into the audience for some crowd surfing, it is nothing but mesmerising.

The band as a whole are fuelled with ferocious punk intent as they determinedly attack each song with 100 per cent commitment. Even when they slow down the pace with ‘Witchless C spot’ the intensity still burns at maximum heat. Defiant warning rousers ‘They fuck you over’ and ‘Bang’ sends the moshpit into a frenzy while ‘Stab my back’ is a punchy alternative club dance hit that should have been.

But while Teri is no doubt the attention grabbing star, Alejandra Luna Robles pounds the drums with effective hard graft and the steady Riko Rodriguez-Lopez on bass are also worthy of special mention as they are fully pledged to the cause, to play their part in constructing the blistering magnitude of the band’s sound. By this point I am totally absorbed into the band’s high octane performance but if I am to be a bit pedantic, and therefore probably being a bit harsh, then there are a couple of older songs which don’t quite stand up to the surrounding high quality in tonight’s chosen set armoury.

They finish with ‘La Urve’ and ‘Henry Don’t got love’ and Teri, sweaty and face smeared red with a beaming smile embraces the crowd, quite literally hugging members individually, and is appreciatively received by likewise punters to end the gig on a very celebratory high note. It would be an absolute crime if the this isn’t only the beginning to building slab size blocks to headline bigger venues, and for wider alternative punk rock stardom.

The band’s bright synthy pop side is mostly forsaken for a storming passionate, energetic, and incredibly tight Indie punk assault. Le Butcherettes are currently cooking at a must see high temperature.

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