Gauche at Bar Le Ritz, April 2 2019

‘Faut qu’on commence? On commence maintenant?’; after a few sound tests the first act, Helene Barbier, skips the introductions and small talk and starts off the set with “Not so Impressed”. Her set combined a mixture of songs from her first album ​Something​ and newer songs like “Tidal Bore”. Her debut album ​Have you met Elliott?  is set to be released later this year under Higher Records. Barbier still has somewhat the same mellow garage rock vibe than her main band Phern, but without the upbeat or pop components. Even though she carried a rather shy stage presence, her use of repetitive yet catchy choruses and chords kept the audience engaged.

After a short break one of Gauche’s members, Perry Fustero, got on stage to perform his solo act Pearie Sol. The one man show is only performed with his synth keyboard, through which he delivered experimental and uptempo organ melodies that reflected his vibrant stage energy. Pearie Sol’s stage presence is perhaps his most remarkable quality, the wacky and quirky organ wouldn’t work as well without his zesty performance and yelping singing style. During songs like “Not Sure”, Pearie Sol dances while aggressively hitting his piano notes. His intense performance gives off the impression that he is completely immersed in his music while playing. Fustero played out his set in a continuous manner, the songs flowed one after the other with few abrupt endings. To finish off, Pearie Sol wrapped up his set by slowing down his rhythm with “ Love is for the Loving”. With the following, he gave a last raw performance; stepping away from quirky playful sounds, this last song presented more sorrowful lyrics and longer organ notes.

At last, Gauche got on the stage and brought an extensive array of instruments like a saxophone, bongos, chimes and maracas. They performed most of their debut album ​Get Away with Gauche​ in addition some to new songs. The DC natives make protest songs that incorporate post-punk with a variety of other genres like groove. Identifying as a feminist and anti-capitalism band, their lyrics tackle macroscale cultural issues. They opened their set with “Copper Woman” and then followed with “History” gradually stepping up the rhythm. Gauche’s political lyrics were felt through with their restless performance. One could feel the vehemence coming from Gauche’s singers, Daniele Yandel and Mary Regalado, when singing and shouting “​I hate Pizzagate Alex Jones, I hate you too Fuck you” during one of their newest songs “Conspiracy Theories”​. It didn't take long for everyone in the small intimate crowd—even shy people like me—to start dancing along to their rebellious anthems. When introducing their last song, Regalado enthusiastically brought out a second maraca, “we get two for this one”. They closed off the show with “Rectangle”, their longest and most instrumentally driven song. It features a captivating bridge that was much more potent live than on the recorded version. The song’s overwhelming instrumentals created the perfect chaotic ending to a powerful show.
All of Helene Barbier, Pearie Sol, and Gauche’s music can be found or downloaded on their Bandcamp profiles.