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Witches & Pizza

Get a thick slice of punk rock this weekend

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WITCHY WOMEN L.A. Witch blend '70s proto punk and '80s garage rock.
  • WITCHY WOMEN L.A. Witch blend '70s proto punk and '80s garage rock.

The pitch-black punk rock emanating from all-girl group L.A. Witch has been generating massive buzz in the lower part of the Golden State for over a year now.

Though the trio does not belong to any actual coven (that we know of) they do call Los Angeles home, invigorating the city of angels with their fierce and addictive brand of heavy and blissfully fuzzed-out garage grit. L.A. Witch make their way to the North Bay for the first time this week, headlining at Atlas Coffee Company in Santa Rosa in a show put on by local organizers the Pizza Punx.

L.A. Witch consists of Sade Sanchez on guitars and vocals, Irita Pai on bass and newest recruit Ellie English on drums. The group is influenced by much of the proto-punk of 1970s British bands and the leather-jacket swagger of 1980s American acts. Sanchez's droning vocals and despondent lyrics especially recall an early Ian Curtis from Joy Division, while the rumbling bass lines and one-two, one-two drum beats hark back to the sounds of the Stooges.

L.A. Witch is the kind of band that the Runaways or the Bangles would've probably taken a step back from, overwhelmed by their sheer power and cool. Their self-titled EP, released last year, is an uncompromising and groovy introduction to their sound, with songs like "Get Lost" boasting a bluesy undertone in the reverb-soaked wails and searing guitars.

Joining L.A. Witch in Santa Rosa is a host of bands from Northern California who are themselves making waves under the surface of the local scenes. Out of Oakland comes the intriguingly diverse stylings of Catharsis for Cathedral, a three-piece that plays something between orchestral rock and experimental acid pop. The result is a truly haunting experience reminiscent of bands like the Black Heart Procession.

Also on the show is Nevada City garage rockers Scissor Vision, who are adept at chaotic noise and warbling tones with a dusty atmosphere. Dissident guitars and a shout-at-the-moon approach to vocals give the group an unpredictable edge, while classic punk riffs and familiar rockabilly fun come through loud and clear—it's as if the Clash and X decided to swap shores for a decade, and then somehow members of the Butthole Surfers sneaked into the recording room.

Opening the show is Santa Rosa's own CREEP BEAT, a down-and-dirty, no-frills-all-thrills outfit that's a straight shot of fun and fuzzy rock and roll. As for the Pizza Punx themselves? Well, yes, there will be pizza. Pizza's good. Just don't bring any calzones to the show. Calzones are stupid and no one likes them.

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