December 17, 2009
Shreds the Gibson Showroom
By Maya Dawn Henderson
WITNESSING A ROCK band that is genuinely excited about things is few and far between. Absinthe, an LA based, all-girl hard rock act have many reasons to be excited. Anchored by the spectacular guitar work of Briana Alexis, backed by Felicia Villani on guitars/back-up vox, accompanied by the solid rhythm section of Crystal Diamond on bass and Misai on drums, and fronted by the confident and powerful lead vocalist, Lau, Absinthe seems to be primed for possible mainstream success. Since forming in 2007, they’ve already made a name for themselves in and around the So Cal music circuit, playing such venues as The House of Blues, Whisky Go Go, The Viper Room, Knitting Factory and The Mint. They’ve rocked the main stages of the Calendar Girls Music Festival, the LA Marathon, the LA Femme Film Festival, Mamapalooza Festivals, The NAMM show and most recently, the launch of Guitar Goddess Magazine at the posh Gibson Artist Showroom. They’ve been making a substantial impression on the public by playing loud, straight-up, guitar-driven rock & roll. In a relatively short time they’ve collected a number of endorsements such as; Tregan Guitars, Seymour Duncan Pickups, In Tune Tuners, Floyd Rose, AMT Electronics and Floyd Rose Upgrades. They are also members of the Gibson Guitars Family of Artists. People are noticing that what some may conceive as gimmick band at first, actually possess impressive musical skills and are consistently coming up with likeable, original songs. After a few recent line-up changes, the band’s music has become much heavier and more polished. The girls recently recorded their first EP, “Absinthe of Malice”.
At the Gibson Showroom in November, Absinthe put on a short, yet powerful set that wowed. The songs rocked fast and hard while carrying a multitude of juicy hooks. The opened with an original called ‘Weed’. The tune carried a sense of balance between attitude and melody. Next up, another original, ‘Use Me’, where Briana slammed into a bone-crunching guitar riff, frosted over with nimble harmonics; Lau spat out the first lines and they were home free. They launched into a mid-tempo metal song called ‘Ransacked’ that had a catchy hook and a killer guitar sound. It had a decided '80's metal texture, but in a good way, much like their look. The Absinthe girls combine lots of hair, skimpy clothes and macho posturing, thereby excelling in a male-dominated scene by simultaneously fulfilling the stereotypes of both sexes. The sound of their new vocalist is a major departure from the vocals before, a radical shift. The music has become much heavier, but beyond that the band's basic sound is still there. The new front woman is also totally watchable, at every sneer and snarl, rolling her eyes to the ceiling orgasmically, when she's not writhing and posing she seems to have a great time being on stage. Her voice - a prowling, sexy shout, a throat coated in chrome, as she covered Evanessence’s ‘Going Under’.
Blitzkrieg guitar riffs and machine-gun drum tempos on ‘Sex, Dirty Money’. Briana played hot-lick guitar leads way up on the instrument's neck, while Felicia took deft command of the rhythm guitar. This is a ballsy tune with snotty rock n' roll vocals and that slightly slurred edge that completes the package. The band’s delivery and performance was such that they gave the songs an air of intricacy despite the somewhat simple chord play. Absinthe’s songs tend to lead into an extremely raw body, all coming together in a sound both carefully structured and recklessly spontaneous. Another original called ‘Fallen’ was played. This is a pretty evocative tune that really gains from layered vocals. It turns quite crunchy later, feeling a bit like something from Lacuna Coil. They closed up the Guitar Goddess premiere with an appropriate number, Heart’s ‘Barracuda’, where they brought some sisterly zest to the event and brought out that intoxicating feeling they want to convey in their moniker.
2010 will no doubt bring many more opportunities for Absinthe. What will be next for them? What’s certain is that whatever direction they may choose, the goal will continue to be to make music that pleases them. Check out these smokin’ hot rockers at: www.myspace.com/absinthewomen