Headlining a night billed as Senoritas That Rock, Louise Distras is the perfect choice to stand up and lead the way.

Upon arrival at the venue, the sounds of many female bands of the Punk, Post Punk, Riot Girl and Indie genres resonate over the venue’s PA system. DJ Siobhan sets the tone for the evening. The tagline for tonight’s event says it all “A Night Of Señoritas that Rock! Honouring these goddesses with a real fearless talent, they are not afraid to represent.”

Opening up the proceedings is Charlie Says. The indie/alt rock band from Cardiff consists of Alcie Bela (vocals), Dai Amaro (guitar), Jamie Parry (bass) and James Jones (drums). The band’s front woman Bela is no shrinking violet and brings charisma and flair in spades.

“No More Glory” is a strong opener and the set builds with superb songs in the shape of “Anna With Attitude” and “Sing Me To Sleep” which both showcase different styles of the band’s repertoire. Charlie Says also treat the crowd to their new single “Never Loved You Less”. In places, Bela is like a cross between Courtney love and Siouxsie Sioux and she shows it perfectly during the latter. The band are very tight and deliver a great first set to warm everyone up.

Next up is local band Mexicola. Ria (guitar/vox), Sime (guitar), Colette (bass) and James (drums) play some great alternative rock tunes. On the strength of the band’s performance tonight you would never know that this is just their second gig together.

The band’s opening number “Make My Day” sets the scene with some scorching guitar work from Sime, who plays like his life depends on it. The rest of the band are solid, whilst James delivers a steady rhythm, Colette on bass is like a swan – elegant and serene on top but if you look below the surface, it’s all action – she delivers devastating riffs throughout the evening.

“My Body Is My Queen” is one of the standout numbers of the set, with Ria showing her amazing vocal talent. Mexicola put their stamp on a grungy version of T-Rex’s “20th Century Boy” which works very well before the band closes out their set with the hard rocking “Undead Love”.

Headliner Louise Distras is covering a lot of ‘firsts’ tonight. It’s Louise’s first time playing solo with an electric lead guitar (usually favouring acoustic), as well as the first play of several new tracks from her forthcoming sophomore album.

Armed with her guitar and a small Blackstar practice amp, we get a lot of noise for our buck. Distras is happy to be here and intersperses her set of old and new songs by chatting with the crowd in between songs. Distras performs old favourites like “Stand Strong Together” and “Love Me The Way I Am” from her stunning debut album Dreams From The Factory Floor which are played with the vigour and passion that we have come to expect from Wakefield’s warrior princess. Distras delivers a fantastic version of her recent single “Aileen”, the song seems to be popular with her ever-growing fan base with many of the crowd singing along.

There are a lot of new songs in the set, which Distras states form the majority of the new album. “Love And Money” is dedicated to a friend in the audience for her birthday, on the other hand, “Forever is You” is a beautiful piece, with Louise showing her softer vocal talent. “Bullets” is given an airing too, which has become a favourite here at National Rock Review.

Louise Distras’ old songs still sound great and if the new songs are anything to go by, the second album is going to be just as good, if not better. The album is being assisted by a Pledge Music Campaign, with further details available via Louise’s website. The crowd are left wanting more and are rewarded, though not with the now infamous “Donald Trump Song”, although it’s still a brilliant end to the night. Louise Distras has really made her electric solo set work superbly well, delivering with both passion and power throughout.

Photos: Booth Hall Photography

Louise Distras
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Charlie Says
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Booth Hall Photography

Event Date: 25-MAR-2017