The one-two music punch of Le Butcherettes and Antemasque transformed Union Transfer into an aural canvas of raw punk last Thursday. Behind the leadership of Teri Gender Bender, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the fervent crowd was treated to some of the most unique and stirring rock around.
Gender Bender’s Le Butcherettes began the night. Moving to a beat of her own creation, Gender Bender is certainly one of music’s most singular presences. Playing the keyboard with an organ tone sometimes reminiscent of The Doors or a Russian folk song or the guitar with the flair for the unusual including playing it between her legs, Gender Bender is an exhilarating musical force. Playing behind their 2014 record Cry is for the Flies, Le Butcherettes are producing rock sounds unlike any other band. Gender Bender would sometimes seemingly stop the show, like when she laid on the floor for at least a minute, before quickly rising and jumping into a new song.
Drummer Lia Braswell was a brilliant counter to Gender Bender. While Braswell struck her drums with passionate force, Gender Bender would move with deliberate stiffness or wild animation. The resulting set was a thrill to the ears, especially the title track to their 2011 record Sin, Sin, Sin.
Antemasque followed with the reuniting of two indie figures — Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez. Formerly of At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, their new band unleashed a blistering set. Playing behind their self-titled 2014 LP, Antemasque had the crowd singing along to their new works. Bixler-Zavala, big hair and all, twirled his mic and mic stand while uttering the vocals. Rodriguez-Lopez was rarely in the same place, as he slashed across the stage while producing sweet sounds from his guitar. It became quite clear that few nights this year were as musically exciting as the pairing of Le Butcherettes and Antemasque.