Lingua Ignota

Live at The Regent Theater

Los Angeles, CA

June 9th, 2022

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Lingua Ignota is an avant guard solo artist that defies genres, bringing a soulful and hard to classify style of music to the stage. She dives into her performance, summoning an alternate state as she is caught up in the emotions she is channeling into the song.

Her music brings to mind other women on the experimental artistic side such as Diamanda Galas or Jarboe. Like the latter, Lingua Ignota also dabbles in sounds and feelings that pull into the metal scene. I first learned about Lingua through a Decibel magazine cover-feature and was intrigued.

The venue was packed, a line stretched far around the block as the opening band went on. By the time Lingua Ignota took the stage the venue was nearly at capacity. Her music ranges from melodic, beautiful verse to harsher, manic vocal delivery - running the gambit of influences from operatic to gospel, and bleeding into metal screams at punctuating points.

The attendees were as diverse: Goths, metal-heads, hipsters, even "normal people". It was all that and every one in between. People were very talkative until she took the stage, but once she began it seemed that no one even whispered.

Her live performance goes beyond her raw musicianship. Building a somber and compelling ambiance with a combination of her unique self-controlled lighting, thematic back projection, as well as her wardrobe, she delivered an experience that kept everyone mesmerized. It is her extreme gestures and actions as she gets caught up in the rapture or agony of what she is mentally projecting however, that is what is most captivating.

She did primarily songs off of her latest album "Sinner Get Ready", but also included a few "covers" including "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus", and Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down".

As someone brought up in an extremely religious household, my first reatction is to question "Jesus Energy" - but maybe that is her point. I felt at moments that the audience (at least near me) was "going to church", and it made me wonder if she is being sarcastic or is a sneaky evangelist for a second. The video behind her predominantly played baptisms in the Jordan River and various wetlands super-imposed with zealous religious folk, which frankly could go either way.

At one point, she took one of her lights on a pole and came down into the audience and sang from amongst us for a while, turning the light to create interesting effects of shadow and light on her face. She eventually went back up on stage, but left the light there for the rest of the show - blazing bright in the middle of the crowd (it was an interesting show to say the least).

A very cool part of the performance was when she stood over the open grand piano and manipulated the strings from above using some sort of metal coils to create a unique echoing harpsichord type effect. I have not seen that done before and thought it was an awesome touch. She sat at the piano and played a few songs as well.

I was really surprised at the turnout and the diversity of listeners. A lot of her imagery and exposure that I had come across was really dark, and her delivery is far from conventional. It is interesting to see who is attracted to this style of music and experience. Groups of people I spoke to traveled hours to attend this show, so she definitely has a devoted fan base. It will be interesting to see what she does next.

Set list:

Many Hands

Do You Doubt Me Traitor

Repent Now Confess Now

Man Is Like a Spring Flower

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus ([traditional])

I Who Bend the Tall Grasses

The Solitary Brethren of Ephrata

The Sacred Linament of Judgement

The Order of Spiritual Virgins

If the Poison Won't Take You My Dogs Will

Katie Cruel (Karen Dalton cover)

Pennsylvania Furnace

Encore:

God's Gonna Cut You Down (Johnny Cash cover)