Le Butcherettes - Night and Day Cafe, Manchester, 22/10/2016

Le Butcherettes – Night and Day Cafe, Manchester, 22/10/2016

Le Butcherettes truly are as wonderfully brutal as their name suggests. Band leader, singer/guitarist/keyboardist Teri Gender Bender is the driving force behind the band’s nine years, three albums and countless tours.  The trio play Manchester’s esteemed Night & Day Café on the last night of their biggest European tour in support of third album A Raw Youth which was released just over a year ago.  Gender Bender originally started the band in Guadalajara, Mexico as a feminist garage-punk duo but changed tune when she struggled to find permanent members.  To this day, she utilises various drummers and bassists to help her out, seemingly acting more as session musicians than band members.  However her main collaborator is Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In) who has helped with production on all three records and occasionally acts as the group’s bassist.

Upon arrival on a buzzing Saturday night, the room is alarmingly empty but slowly fills with mostly thirty-something and forty-something generic rock fans.  Opening band La Mode are hardly worth mentioning, churning out a set of clichéd Rock ’n’ RollTM rehash.  But once that pain is over, it’s time for the real stuff.

Le Butcherettes walk on unannounced with Gender Bender shouting something indecipherable before launching into the frenetically dark ‘Burn The Scab’ and straight-up rocker ‘Demon Stuck In Your Eye’, both from 2014’s Cry Is For The Flies.  Gender Bender’s stage presence is on another level.  She twists and bends her limbs almost at contortionist levels, screaming and yelling to unleash each and every inner demon without restraint.  She is barely in one place for more than two seconds as she switches between guitar and keyboards or sometimes plays both simultaneously.  She oozes total power.  Every eye in the room is completely in awe of her.

When she speaks between songs – sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English – it is not at all like the conventional ‘this song is about…’ but rather seemingly spontaneous poetry and animated noises.  Other times it turns into straight up theatre.  Like when she stops half way through ‘Leibniz Language’ and pretends to give birth (to which one crowd members shouts “it’s a boy”) and the band continue playing as if nothing has happened.  Gender Bender is accompanied by drummer Alejandra Luna Robles (also of The Menstruators) and bassist Riko Rodríguez-López who are clearly accustomed to her erratic behaviour and have no problem keeping up with her.

Le Butcherettes have always been a visually striking band.  Gender Bender has a thick red line painted across her face just under her eyes.  She wears an army-green jumpsuit which she somehow takes off whilst singing feminist anthem ‘Dress Off’ to reveal head-to-toe red attire; a commentary for the way women’s bodies are treated (to replace her former stage outfits of actual meat).

The crowd is treated to a 17-song strong set, brought to a close by their hit ‘Henry Don’t got Love’  from debut record Sin Sin Sin (2011).  The trio bow together and Gender Bender steps off stage to hug everyone in the front row.  She sticks around for a good half hour, gratefully talking to fans and taking selfies.  An astonishing performer, backed by incredible musicians.  Don’t miss them for the world.

Photo credit: Chris Sikich from Le Butcherettes Official Facebook Page

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.