Local band Buttertones hosts a show with the finest, foulest, and sexiest bands
Words and photos by Isaura Aceves Contributor
There was silence on stage as the Buttertones prepared for their next song and the crowd waited.
The drummer leaned into the mic and yelled “Para bailar la Bamba!” and the crowd went wild, singing along as a mosh pit started behind me. I was pushed against the stage as the crowd started dancing with excitement as the band’s classic cover of “La Bamba” continued.
The audience kept singing louder, almost drowning out the vocals in the song. Although their cover is only two minutes long, I was still so completely enthralled by their performance that I lost myself in the music. The constant beat kept me jumping up and down as I became one with the crowd’s excitement.
The Buttertones were the headliners Monday, Sept. 19 at the Echoplex in Los Angeles. The concert was part of their residency; they host a series of shows at the Echoplex every Monday in September showcasing local bands from Southern California, including indie folk band Kera and the Lesbians.
The choice of a “La Bamba” cover perfectly embodies the whole sound and aesthetic of the band.
Their music consists of surf rock guitar riffs, a growling saxophone sound, and the crooning vocals of the lead singer.
Once you see them on stage in dapper attire, you get the full understanding of what this band is really about. Their embrace of a retro look and sound elevate them to a unique band that stands out against the modern music of today.
One of their opening songs from their set was “Dionysus” from their first self-released album. The song began in a rather slow tempo with a melodic tone. Lead singer Richard Araiza’s smooth high notes provided the clean sound that band produces.
As this was one of their classic originals, the audience sang along throughout the chorus.
But, when they performed one of their newer songs “Stray Dog Strut,” the rapid tempo and quick guitar riffs set up their fast-paced energy for the rest of their show.
Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Richard Araiza during the Buttertones’ set.
The high shrieks and low melody of the vocals demonstrated the versatility of their sound. The audience’s energy was established as they had a constant mosh pit that kept going throughout the rest of the show.
Their closing song came quicker than anyone was prepared for as they announced their last song, “Daks Back,” from their latest album, “American Brunch.”
The band members shouted “Go! Go! Go!” after the opening guitar intro, and the crowd immediately soared with their last bit of energy. The high-paced drums and their blaring saxophone-accompanied the surf rock rhythm creating their last hurrah at the show.
Many among the crowd fought their way on stage to crowd surf, with at least 10 people managing to jump off before the song ended. Even though I had to fight and push off people to keep my spot up front the majority of the time, I felt an overwhelming amount of energy at end of the show.
Besides the energetic performance of the Buttertones, another highlight of the night was the brilliant performance by Kera and the Lesbians.
They’re a self-described “bipolar folk” indie band with a sound that engulfs a mixture of folk rock with the rich powerful vocals of their lead singer Kera Armendariz.
Their stage presence was also unforgettable as Kera passionately sang every one of her songs. Through her performance of “Nailbiter,” her shrieks emphasized her vulnerability as she left every ounce of herself onstage. At one point she threw her guitar as she gave herself to the song.
During her performance of her single “Snake” she brought Laura Burhenn from the local band Mynabirds on stage. In contrast to her energetic songs, this performance was rather haunting.
Her vocals resonated within as she sang in a lower tone causing goosebumps on my skin. The guitar riffs increased in tempo but slowed down with the vocal harmonies reflecting the emotional state of Kera’s singing. She fueled the energetic state of the crowd as she left everyone with a powerful impression of her passion.
The concert was an unforgettable evening made up of the best local bands of the area.
Two days after and I’m still singing “Quiero bailar la bamba!” in an infinite loop in my head.