Live Review: Tarah Who? at The Viper Room in West Hollywood, CA

Venue: The Viper Room
City: West Hollywood, CA
Contact: Tarah, [email protected]
Web: tarahwho.com

Material: Hailing from Paris, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and all-around fireball Tarah G. Carpenter relocated to Los Angeles with the desire to explore the diverse music scene it harbors. With prior experience in several bands, her first taste of flying solo arrived after she answered a Craigslist ad calling for an artist to perform at a downtown warehouse party. Although Carpenter is the “mind, soul, rock & roll heartbeat, and operator” of the project, she enlisted the help of fellow musicians to complete this snarling fusion of punk, grunge and straight-up rock.

Musicianship: Right out of the gate, it’s clear Carpenter is a vocal powerhouse. Her compelling, bassy register is nuanced with a timbre reminiscent of grunge god Eddie Vedder. She effortlessly plummets into guttural bellows, exhibited on sharply titled single “Bitchcraft.” In support of her biting growls, straightforward power chords on the guitar embody the no-frills characteristics of the punk music the band presents. Fat basslines provided by Peltcher interlock snugly with Keiths’ frantic yet steady percussion, creating a solid foundation on which Carpenter can wail. Carpenter’s lyrics feel acutely personal, dealing with emotions and ideas she “needs to let out.”

Performance: Celebrating the release of their new EP entitled Half Middle Child Syndrome, the band drew a substantial audience. Setting off the show, the trio wasted no time seizing control of the stage with ferocity. Carpenter’s personality immediately shone through when she began with a humorously deadpan remark about how she forgot to urinate and may have to finish the set early. During a guitar swap between songs, Keiths encouraged the audience to participate in a rousing chant of “Fuck Trump!,” in which the audience participated with gusto. Overall, Tarah Who? delivered a lively performance that elicited vigorous head-banging from the audience.

Summary: Though their music is technically uncomplicated, Tarah Who? delivers a scathing rawness that doesn’t require much else. Frenzied punk rhythms coincide with Carpenter’s seething howls, forging a wall of sound that is powerful and gripping. Even if their music isn’t your bag, Tarah Who? delivers an exciting show that may induce sudden and unexpected moshing.

The Players: Tarah G. Carpenter, vocals, guitar; Shaina Mikee Keiths, drums; Matt Peltcher, bass, vocals

Photo by Austin Arthur