L.a. Post-punk queens: Death Valley Girls in review

Last night, L.A. post-punk quartet Death Valley Girls graced us with their presence at an intimate show in the Skalitzer Straβe hideaway Monarch – and we weren’t disappointed.

With a sound almost too fitting for the deliciously grimy gem that is this staple of the Berlin independent music scene, you’re never sure what to expect with this band. Clearly people are responding well to their distinctiveness and spontaneity, as their sold-out show resulted in Monarch being full to the brim with a weird and wonderful army of fans dressed in a rainbow of shades of black, in a somewhat sardine-like fashion. Presented by The David Watts Foundation and entertainment guide Schmutz, it’s an immersive experience, with the packed venue only adding to the chaotic atmosphere.

Support came in the form of Berlin-based group Jealous, who succeeded in delivering something of a riotous performance. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Dane Joe, guitarist/vocalist Sissy Johnny and drummer Alice Huet, they’re a rather intriguing spectacle, with mad pack energy and a ferocious sound. Having not had the pleasure of stumbling across them before, this reviewer can confirm that they’re definitely rising stars within the alternative microcosm, and deserve a lot more attention than they’re currently getting. Support your local eccentrics!

After an exhausting and spirited set, our headliners took to the stage. With their hot and sticky trash glam sound, it was always going to be something of an unorthodox series of events. Messy and impossibly cool, half of us is very eager to be their new best friend, while the other half is wildly intimidated by their nonchalance and brashness.

What’s most impressive about Death Valley Girls is how connected they seem to their audience – they’re totally self-aware, and it’s refreshing to see a band with such unparalleled feistiness. They’re completely and utterly committed to being in the moment during their performance, regardless of other distractions. It’s not too often than you encounter bands with such an organic energy, and it was definitely a heartening experience.

With a commanding stage presence – and group persona which demands attention – their show was animated and sweaty and reckless. Their sound is difficult to pin down, but if you take a moment to imagine a post-apocalyptic grunge world governed by our beloved feminist overlords, this would be their anthem. They’re charmingly eclectic and bursting with charisma – which is good, because they actually have something of substance to say.

Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden managed to captivate every single person in that room, with credit due to both her powerhouse vocals and random miaowing punctuating her speech. She’s clearly devoted to her pursuit of music, but at the same time isn’t going to concern herself with your opinions. It’s so invigorating to witness such a frontwoman in action, and I implore you to get your hands on a ticket to their show if they’re in a town near you.

Ultimately, if you’re on the hunt for a throwback to the early-nineties alternative days, you’ve found it. With a sharp wit and a seemingly unbounded energy, Death Valley Girls are definitely one to keep your beady eyes on.

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