Almost two weeks ago we caught Rebel and a Basketcase’s performance debut at the Bootleg Theater. Consdering this was the new band’s first live performance ever, they kind of blew us away. Taking the stage with an extraordinary stage presence and a witty, yet candid banter— one would would think this dynamic duo has been playing together for quite a few years now. But that’s not the case. Rebel and a Basketcase just released their three-song debut EP and have a full-length record underway. Fans at the Bootleg on July 10th got to see the LA duo in action, and they did not disappoint.
Unlike many actors that decide to take their talents in the live music direction, both Evan Rachel Wood and Zach Villa (the dazzling duo that make up Rebel and a Basketcase) have got the skills and swagger to enamor fans on and off the screen. From the songwriting to the producing and playing on instruments, Wood and Villa create all of their own music. We’ve seen many actors take a stab at crossing over to music (and visa versa), but it doesn’t always work out. They seem to lack the enticing stage presence, that thrilling glow of truly loving what you’re doing— and worst of all— some really don’t have the talent to be a musician/singer. With Rebel and a Basketcase we see something truly special. Wood and Villa absoulty nailed their live performance at the Bootleg; and judging by the sound of it, they’ve have nailed their debut album too.
Without a doubt, both Wood and Villa are fun to look at. Yes, they’re attractive humans, but it’s more than just that. It’s the way they move and groove across the stage and pull you into their performance. The chemistry between the two is truly infectious. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to jump on stage and dance with them.
Donning a pair of fabulously gold L.A. Lights (yes, that sneaker we all wanted in the early 90s), Villa worked the floor lighting up every corner of the stage. Swinging his guitar around as though it were attached to his body, Villa danced with it all the while providing lush vocals. While Wood mainly takes the lead on the vocals, Villa shines like a distant star on their sexy track “Lightning Look.” With lips like Jagger and a voice that will melt you like butter on hot toast, Villa cuddled pretty much everyone in the room with his voice. As we mentioned in our Hot Band Alert feature: ” ..the song has a sensational crescendo. It kicks at the perfect moment, then lulls you back into dreamland with the cuddly coos…”
Rolling out equal amounts of energy with a fierce sonic luster, Wood pulls you in hook, line and sinker. This woman has some serious pipes and range. On songs such as “Girl On A Wire,” Wood’s vocal prowess dominates with strength and power. What starts almost like a soft ballad, quickly hurricanes into a bold anthemic number powered by Wood’s operatic vocal sheen. It’s truly a stunning number. While we are being captivated by her vocals, we are also in love with her dance moves. Wood does this bouncy 80-style footwork a la Flash Dance meets Fame and it’s just so fun. I don’t know if it’s her “Duckman” creepers giving the soft effect, but it looks like she’s almost floating when she does her 80’s jig.
Blending in touches of performance art and interpretive dance, there’s never a dull moment with Rebel and the Basketcase. From the deliciously playful electro pop in “Oh yeah” to the darker, almost industrial sounds heard in “Le Fee,” Rebel and a Basketcase bring the electronic variety and they bring it well. Together, Wood and Villa make Rebel and a Basketcase quite the promising act. Keep an eye on these two as their music and charm is sure to take them great places.
Opening up for Rebel and a Basketcase were HXLT. The boys put on quite the impressive performance with their explosive energy. From sweet rock ballads to electro rock and punk, HXLT were the perfect appetizer to the main dish that was Rebel and a Basketcase.