Material: Long Beach punks Rats in the Louvre originally formed when frontwoman Cruz wanted to play old Bikini Kill favorites, and that makes complete sense. Sharing sensibilities with Kathleen Hanna’s ‘90s group, this three-piece blends grimy, scuzzy punk with experimental indie rock. On paper, that doesn’t necessarily make for an innovative proposition, but in execution the band is a thrill. The songs are unrelenting, loud-as- hell blasts of punk, motivated by political and social issues. At one point, for example, they recommend that any Trump supporters in attendance wear earmuffs during one particularly, admirably, intense tune.
Musicianship: This is punk rock––there’s no need for virtuosity, no noodling guitar solos or overlong drum solos, and Cruz doesn’t have to hold a vocal note for an extended period of time. That said, the three band members are no slouches when it comes to getting the best out of their instruments. The sum of the parts is certainly key here; they seem to know each other very well, with Posod and Cavender an extremely effective rhythm section. As the sole guitarist and singer, there’s a lot of responsibility on Cruz’s shoulders but she’s a more-than-capable, super-talented musician.
Performance: This is a strong area for the band, despite the fact that they don’t move around a whole lot on stage. All eyes naturally fall on Cruz, fronting the band like a badass. With her head so close to the mic she looks like she wants to butt it, and a snarl etched onto her face as she sings, she’s a perfectly emotive, expressive punk singer. Cavender bounces a bit while plucking his bass, while Posod looks like she’s having a blast from behind the kit.
Summary: This hometown show at Alex’s Bar, a tremendous place to catch a punk gig, saw Rats in the Louvre opening for former Bags singer and L.A. punk scene veteran Alice Bag, while Bad Cop Bad Cop was also on the bill. That could be an intimidating lineup, but these Long Beach rats were more than up to the task. They’ve been performing around the region quite a lot lately, and the hard work has paid off.
Photo by Brett Callwood
Alex’s Bar Long Beach, CA
The Players: Veronica Cruz, vocals, guitar; Melissa Posod, drums; Rusty Cavender, bass.
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