King Woman

Live at The Belasco Theater

Los Angeles, CA

November 26th, 2021

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

King Woman are a Bay area group focused around front woman Kristina Esfandiari. They form an amalgamation of styles ranging from brooding doom metal to experimental, alternative, drone/shoe-gazer, and avant guard.

The band has been making a lot of ground in the music press lately with their sophomore album, "Celestial Blues". Every one from extreme metal advocates, Decibel to mainstream rock's Rolling Stone gives it high marks.

King Woman was one of the primary bands I was interested in at the Substance LA 2021 Festival over Thanksgiving weekend in downtown Los Angeles and had a featured spot on the main stage the first night of the event.

I have never seen them perform before so wasn't sure what to expect. Kristina has two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer accompany her on stage, but her vocals and actions are the focal point.

She reminds me of Diamanda Galas or Jarboe in her deep crooning style and also like these two talented women, she will abruptly break into much harsher and intense pieces to punctuate the songs.  

She kept climbing down into the photo pit with all of the photographers and on to the barrier getting right up into the audience's faces, literally touching them as she sang.

It was an intense performance with minimal lighting. Those gathered near the front screamed her name and sang along to the more conventional songs, so she definitely brought quite a following to the festival on this night.

King Woman is definitely an interesting project that has caught the attention of a wide range of listeners. I look forward to getting more familiar with their music and hopefully seeing them on a regular tour where the confines of set times and multiple stages in a festival setting can allow more focus but this was a great introduction.

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