Thomas Wynn & the Believers and Dirty Names at Mercury Lounge
Looking Ahead at the Met Opera

Screamin' Rebel Angels Rock the Rodeo Bar

by Freya Wilcox

Screamin' Rebel Angels, Rodeo Bar, Feast of Music
We’ve all seen the black-and-white photos of packed, sweaty rock’n’roll bars in New York, but sometimes it seems as though they are a relic lost to the half-full indie clubs now scattered around the city.

However, sitting in Rodeo Bar and faced with crimson-clad rockabilly menace Screamin Rebel Angels, it didn’t take long to realize that I (and a herd of hollerin', pseudo-cowboys) had found it.

The rockabilly/country/blues foursome beat, screamed, strummed, and stomped their way through an unforgettably authentic and highly energetic set on Saturday night, in the very appropriate Texan bar.

Fronting the band, Laura Rebel Angel—adorned in a tight red dress, bejeweled, tattooed, and shining with presence—was not the kind of woman you would expect to be found belting out the blues with a guitar on a Saturday night; standing affront portraits of Elvis and Janis Joplin, however, she was right at home.

Screamin Rebel Angels 1

There is something about the combination of a masterfully slapped upright bass, immaculately paired guitars, and a smoldering redhead howling about her “Mean, Mean Man” that shoved the audience into a badass, rock ’n’ roll timewarp.

Lead guitarist Brian Hack effortlessly pumped out intense licks with a bite and twang that evoked a Tarantino chase scene, while tearing hearts with his solos played from the floor and the flank.

The stage—unfortunately, sorely lacking a dancefloor—was the only real disappointment: The audience clearly strove to find some place to move with the band, with some finding space between tables but many stuck in their place. It would be fantastic to see them at some point with a pumping crowd beneath them. Regardless, the crystal-clear acoustics more than compensated for the lack of space and the band seemed completely unaffected.

Laura showed herself to be a performer who owns the stage without remorse; she doesn’t ask her baby to come back, or her daddy not to leave, but rather, owns the men in her lyrics as she owns the stage—without playing hard to get with the audience.

If you love your classics with a cunning twist and true musicianship, then check out Screamin’ Rebel Angels for a rush you won’t forget. You’ll be shootin’ men in Memphis in no time at all.