Royal Distortion, Vigil Of War, The Whisky, May 7, 2018
Royal Distortion kicked off their 1st residency show of Free Mondays at The Whisky on the Sunset Strip, with Vigil Of War in direct support.
Mumble. Anticipation. Resuscitation. Eight minutes pass and then time folds and bends for the royal presence of Royal Distortion.
“California” felt like gold. Shimmering under the low glow, Isis Queen knew how to soak up and reflect the spotlight. Probably born on a stage, she seemed natural in every inhale. Even her exhales beckoned attention.
The night’s highpoint came with “Low.” Bassist Gabe Maska tethered his strumming strings to Isis Queen. Together they seemed to have found a spot sweet enough to make a dentist mad or glad (since it would actually be better for business). This band is definitely on their yellow brick road to a label. Every gesture, every sound, every chorus, and every position was marketable. I have never photographed a group so photogenic. They knew the cameras were there. And not once did they wince at the flash of oncoming fame.
A thrashing tambourine and the gyrating hips of a hypnotic dancer accompanied Royal Distortion as they came to a close with “Good Times.” An instant favorite that was accentuated by Isis’ flamboyant interactionism. Dancing with her audience, Isis Queen ruled all with her phonic scepter. Pyn Doll on guitar and percussionist Kevin Tylor seemed to combat every other band member for the position of most excitingly enticing. I think it ended in a tie.
Vigil Of War
In direct support of Royal Distortion. The mood was as bright as the lights. All attention shuffled in anticipation as Vigil of War stepped out. From their first step onto the stage, you could tell they were different. They would spare no eyes and ears, for they were there for everyone’s. No remorse. No delay. Only play.
Alicia Vigil stared deep into our smiles as her hips and lips shook to “Live Wire.” Clutching a microphone stand made to look like an automatic assault weapon, she shot shouts adorned with a melody as smooth as a dagger. Sharpened vocals accompanied the slicing slides of guitarist London Mckuffey, who brought the night to life despite the morbidity of their tonic themes.
“Shallow Grave”s hook gave the audience easy vocals to sing along to. Soulful instrumentals moved faster than the speed of the venue’s lights. A constant tug-of-war between audience and vocals kept the vibe intensive.
Vigil of War ended their set with a song that will probably serve as the beginning of their career. Alicia Vigil turned her tongue to the tune of “Bite the Bullet” bravely bracing her barrel. Heads bobbed into hemorrhages for there was no resisting the clearly muddied metal sound. Foots stomped and teeth clenched. A true mark. A true aim. A true hit.
Scenes from the Royal Distortion / Vigil Of War show:
(Review and Photos by Chris Vinan)