Lauren Ruth Ward has spent the better part of a year and half paying her dues around L.A., supporting the scene that supported her, and playing just about every venue and every free gig she could round up her fearsome foursome of bandmates for.
So Friday night’s show at the Bootleg Theater was in large part a friends and “scene family” affair. It was sold out because she’s made so many of them.
Ostensibly an album release affair for her full-length debut “Well, Hell,” the explosive show featured her now-well-honed band of guitarist Eduardo Rivera, bassist Liv Slingerland and drummer India Pascucci, backing the dynamic singer whose voices ranged from a pleading rasp to sultry and rich to booming and bold. Virtually everybody at the Bootleg had heard the songs — especially the singles “Did I Offend You?,” “Make Love to Myself,” “Blue Collar Sex Kitten” and the newest, the title track. Album tracks such as “Staff Only” and “Sideways,” which have been highlights of her live shows, also turned up.
In addition, Ward’s girlfriend LP joined the band to lend her formidable vocals to the song “Sheet Stains,” and the band did a three-part mash-up of “Electric Avenue,” “Hard to Handle” and “I’m Every Woman.”
“Well, Hell” probably won’t make it to digital or streaming outlets for a while — Friday, it was announced that Ward has joined the small roster on the fledgling label Weekday Records, a partnership with Sony Music, which probably will want to do a proper roll-out. But Ward had physical copies for sale at the show.
Opening the night, VAVA impressed. It’s the new project of Vanessa Wheeler, formerly of the band LeoLeo, and on Friday she played the avant rock and pop selections from her forthcoming EP. Equally impressive was Laura Jean Anderson’s set of gritty Americana-rock that followed.
Photos by Emery Becker