I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit hesitant to attend this small club, indoor show. With COVID’s Delta variant disrupting our lives, once again — I almost didn’t make it to see the beautiful beast that is King Woman‘s Kristina Esfandiari envelop us with her spellbinding breaths and howls. But I did make it. And I’m so glad I did because the evening was complete doom metal catharsis.
Despite being full vaccinated, I strapped my KN95 mask to my face and entered the Lodge Room right before Grimy Goods faves Spare Part For Broken Hearts hit the stage. I was so excited to see this trio live. We’ve covered them numerous times and presented shows with them on the bill, but I personally have yet to see them live. Ever since becoming a mother, my IRL show life is not what it used to be. I’m happy to now be in a position where I can get back to it, however, COVID is definitley creating some obstacles.
For this show I was a wallflower. I clung to the walls of the historic Lodge Room with my fellow show-goers, most masked up. Next to me was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ incredible guitarist Nick Zinner with his range-finder camera strapped to his shoulder (pretty sure it was Fuji X100). You know it’s a hot pick when you see Zinner on the floor.
I was so thrilled to see Spare Parts for Broken Hearts live, in the flesh and on stage. The band dominates on all their releases and I’ve been in love with front-woman Sarah Green’s vocals for quite some time. They’ve always struck an emotional chord with me. Not just the words she so fervently sings, but the energy behind every breath and tenacious vibrato. She is such a talented musician who’s vocals at times can be operatic; however a hard rock ‘n’ roll operatic. With Jessica Lankford relentlessly pummeling her drum kit and Jonny Cifuentes making that bass scream, the band delivered a ferocious set. Each member is truly a sight to see and hear on stage. Together they have this kinetic energy that just opens a whole new dimension when it comes to their raw grunge rock sound.
King Woman was an awakening of the soul. The band were a thunderous presence on stage, making my proverbial ear drums bleed with such dooming pleasure. Led by the other-worldy force that is Esfandiari, I’d be surprised if her performance didn’t conjure Satan himself. With banshee like cries and her signature dramatic breaths, strong enough to cast a spell on you — her voice alone sent shivers down my spine. Esfandiari’s confidence and empowering roars are chilling in the best of ways.
Like a lioness on the hunt to bring her family fresh meat, Esfandiari commands the room with her throaty howls. And just like a lioness — there is tender side that lulls your heart. Songs like the gorgeous “Morning Star” and “Golgotha” slowly cradle you until it’s time to unleash the beast. Full of mystery and suspense, you know the break is coming, but you’re also mesmerized in the lulling bliss of Esfandiari’s soft side. Once the band begins to smash our senses with their vicious strings and pulsating drums, you know you’re in for a ride.
King Woman’s “Coil” was absolutely fierce live. My only qualm, I wish I could have actually seen Esfandiari perform this song live. Hell, I wish I could have seen her perform any portion of her set live. Unfortunately for us wallflowers, trying to keep as safe as possible from that retched virus — Esfandiari performed her entire set on the show floor, front and center surrounded by fans. It was an exhilarating experience for those crowed in that pit, but it was a bit of a bummer for the rest of us that so hoped to see Esfandiari on stage. It goes without saying, the band were an explosive sight to be seen. The sounds and feels they created, paired with Esfandiari’s unique vocals and hows, truly exude something brutally magical.
Words: Sandra Burciaga Olinger
Photography: Bryan Olinger