Le Butcheretes performing at Chicago's Cobra Lounge

A good concert reanimates the heart and soul through the power of art. Audiences find connection in a mass of strangers while, on stage, gutsy performers lay it all on the line revealing the complex truths hiding amidst our relationships to loved ones, society and ourselves.

Armed with a collection of new songs from their latest release bi/MENTAL – a thrashing and thoughtful examination of conflicting emotions – Le Butcherettes attacked their Feb. 20 performance, presented by Riot Fest at Chicago’s Cobra Lounge, with fearless artistry and a setlist that simply kicked ass.

After a joyful and jerky opening of “Burn the Scab,” vocalist Teri Gender Bender launched into the torrential thunder of “spider/WAVES” and “Father/ELOHIM,” both of which appear on the group’s new album. Whether on the keys or the guitar, Teri exuded gleeful defiance while soaking in the polarity of existence. Even her chaotic dance moves displayed a contrasting precision further exploring the connectivity of opposites.

Le Butcheretes performing at Chicago's Cobra Lounge

The Guadalajara-born, El Paso-based group – Teri Gender Bender (vocals/guitar/piano), Alejandra Robles Luna (drums), Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez (guitars) and Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez (bass) – were at their best when they used every tool in their arsenal to convey musical madness. The spooky swagger of “La Uva” evolved into an all-out jam as Le Butcherettes toyed with time and space. Later, the playful insanity of “Mr. Tolstoi” found Teri alternating between falsetto and a crazed spoken word. The tempo slowed and sped to sheer pandemonium before returning to a schizophrenic Russian rhythm.

Before Le Butcherettes sliced up Cobra Lounge with their tasty cuts of music, the L.A. foursome Stars at Night and Chicago’s own Mutts got the punk rock party started with face melting sets of their own. Stars at Night front woman Janelle Obert commanded the stage with jagged dance moves and vocals seething with irony, most notably on the group’s raging cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Drummer Joana Rubio was an absolute madwoman behind the kit. Her set-ending solo stole the show as all eyes – and ears – were fixated on her deliciously frenzied playing.

Stars at Night opening for Le Butcheretes performing at Chicago's Cobra Lounge

During their show-opening set, Mutts frontman Mike Maimone obliterated any constraints of the keys while leading the group in a whiskey-soaked adventure best enjoyed way down in the hole. The trio shared tunes from their 10-year history and announced that they will be heading out on an anniversary tour with Archie Powell & the Exports later this year.

Mutts opening for Le Butcheretes performing at Chicago's Cobra Lounge

Since the group’s inception, Le Butcherettes have garnered a reputation for being a force to be reckoned with on any stage. The addition of bi/MENTAL to their catalog has done the seemingly impossible and amplified an already unforgettable concert-going experience.

Head over to Lebutcherettesofficial.com for more information on the band’s latest album and tour.

Laurie Fanelli is a Chicago-based writer and photographer who specializes in live entertainment coverage. She is at home at major music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and, of course, Lollapalooza and...