Mother Parisa & The Band of Heathens

Live Review: Mother Parisa & The Band of Heathens at the Prospector in Long Beach, CA

Material: We’re told that lead guitarist Vartanians was out of town for this gig but, professional that they are, the band didn’t want to cancel and leave the venue, promoter and other bands in the lurch. So they carried on, down a man. The amazing thing is, unless you’re already totally familiar with their music, you never would have known that the group had been handicapped. No disrespect to Vartanians––we’re sure he adds a whole other dimension that we can’t even imagine. But coming in cold, listening to these guys play their dark talks of folky, punky, gothic woe, we’re nothing but impressed.

Musicianship: So much credit has to go to Richard Guillen's stellar work with the guitar parts while also taking on the lion’s share of the singing. The guy is an imposing frontman––a punk rock poet who is both visually striking but also clearly impassioned. To his right is Parisa Vaezzadeh, obviously the member who gifted the band with its excellent name. Her vocals contrast beautifully with Guillen’s, while her work on keys and, in particular, violin, is vital. The music has a gorgeous, Nick Cave-esque quality––sincere and lyrically intense, but also somehow delicate and even pretty. It all makes for a wonderful combo.

Performance: The stage at The Prospector is tiny, tucked away in the corner, and the ceiling is low. Yet these guys still manage to rule over the place with a wild abandon. They’re having so much fun, it’s hard not to get carried along for the ride. All eyes are on Guillan, with his black smudged eyes, and Vaezzadeh, but the other members are clearly having a blast too. There’s not a lot in the way of between-song banter, but there doesn’t need to be. The energy and passion that the band puts into the music is more than enough entertainment.

Summary: This is a set that stuck with us way after it was over. The songs are infectious and extremely enjoyable, while the band looks fantastic. We can only begin to imagine how good they sound with the full lineup. But for us, on a night in Long Beach, they delivered. We’ll be checking them out again soon.

Contact: richarjguillen@gmail.com
Web: facebook.com/motherparisaandtheheathens
Players: Richard Guillen, vocals, rhythm guitar, Jordan Vartanians, lead guitar; Parisa Vaezzadeh, vocals, violin, keyboards; Andrew Wolfe, drums; David Solis, stand up bass