Live Music + Gig Reviews

Los Bitchos @ Patterns, Brighton

26 February 2022

This London-based, pan-continental female instrumental four-piece’s surreal and creative bricolage approach fits perfectly in our everything all at once age

Los Bitchos

Los Bitchos (Photo: Tom Mitchell)

Reticence or timidity won’t get you very far tonight. A thirst for frivolity and enlightenment, amidst a looming global crisis, appears to stir the overly enthusiastic members of “London-based, pan-continental female instrumental” four-piece Los Bitchos into action, as they embrace the ineffable melodies of lands unknown, a desire for sudden liberation through knowing exoticism and celebration, shared by a crowd happy to indulge their whims.

Blending the textures of traditional cumbia with strands of Turkish disco, Nigerian High-Life and Tropicalia amongst much else, it would be only mildly slanderous to say they cheekily exploit indigenous music for discerning Western ears, as they do it so cavalierly, and with such giddy abandon. Any lingering doubts or questions about their authenticity or cultural appropriation slip farther and farther away as the group reward the ears repeatedly with increasingly expansive and lustful concoctions of global sound. Free of the political, economic and cultural associations normally associated with those genres and lands, they unearth the simple pleasures to be found within infectious rhythms. And anyway Tropicalia was itself a culturally cannibalised mash up of US rock and traditional latin folk music.

Without any obvious narrative guidance, they run the risk of collapsing under the weight of their impulsive but formless eclecticism. But on the track Lindsay Goes To Mykonos, a live favourite, the group attempt to embody the glamorously disgraced young starlet’s bewildering life story in musical realtime, its naive elements giving way to chaotic grinding and fatigued immediacy.

Joined by instrumentalist Charles Prest of support act Noon Garden, they extract themselves from the restrictions of formality and artistry in favour of a dramatic form of instrumental hysteria that’s ironically romanticised and yet still recklessly palatable. That’s not to say they lack skill, the music they make is in no way amateurish. Each player contributes to the whole experience in an almost assembly line manner. Behind the cartoonish veil lies a band at ease with their instruments and able to keep pace of modern trends. Taking a swipe at every musical genre going, their surreal and creative bricolage approach fits perfectly in our everything all at once age.

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Los Bitchos @ Patterns, Brighton