Go Betty Go
Bottom of the Hill
April 13, 2018
Photos by Ashleigh Castro.
Go Betty Go celebrated at Bottom of the Hill having performed together for eighteen years with openers Year of the Fist (Oakland) and Glam Skanks (Los Angeles).
Nicolette Vilar picked up the microphone with a huge grin. Sheer joy being on stage performing as Go Betty Go shines from the singer’s face. Joined by her sister Aixa Vilar (drums) and longtime friends Betty Cisneros (guitar) and Michelle Rangel (bass), Go Betty Go started the show with “Runaway” from their full length 2005 album Nothing Is More;l the album opens with flashing guitar and speedily thumbing bass and drums.
Sweetly prancing around the stage as she hugged her microphone, Nicolette Vilar’s charming voice is that of a soulful, romantic and passionate punk. A sweet siren that is not afraid to tell someone off, Vilar’s vocal melodies complement the clean yet raging sounds of Cisnero’s guitar. You can see why the band was named after the guitarist, as she brings rock n roll toughness on her Gibson SG.
The next song, “Son Mis Locuras,” showcased why Go Betty Go are one of the most influential Latina punk rock bands. They fuse albums with Spanish and English, setting the scene of their Los Angeles roots. Their bright lyrics, commitment to one another, and spirit keep them a close artist family. Something about the dive scene at Bottom of the Hill seemed like it felt like home.
“Thank you very much!,” said Nicolette Vilar as the band received a round of applause. Gratitude shone from the band, and throughout the set Vilar continued to say the exact phrase, “Thank you very much!,” with a big grin. Before the show, Nicolette Vilar was seen already at the merch booth talking to listeners about Go Betty Go posters she designed herself and the music.
To follow, Go Betty Go played “Drown” off their 2015 EP Reboot. A song about doubt caused by external influences and judgment. The song was slower than their intros, though carried well through the crowd as heads bobbed and caught breath for more melodic mayhem. Another song off Reboot came next, “By Your Side,” which picked the pace back up with aggression as they drew lines in the sand saying ,“And now when you reach out, you’ll see. I won’t be. By your side! / I can’t be, by your side.”
“You’re Your Worst Enemy” rains punky energy as Cisnero’s guitar once again paces the group into a full throttle, tuneful tell off to someone who needs a reality check. “The Pirate Song” has swashbuckling style to narrate the story of having one’s lover stolen by a charming yet freaky seeker. It reminds listeners they are stronger than their lost lover. “Listen you I know it’s awful/To lose your man to a circus freak/Soon enough he’ll be forgotten/Just look away and count to three.” Building up to “One, two, three, hey!”
They played “Cemetery Stone” and “It Haunts You Now,” the latter was one of the singles, while both were from Reboot. One can sense the growth the band experienced after they split off and reunited as the tracks from Reboot feel more alternative to their punkier youth.
Eventually Nicolette Vilar shared that she had a dream that “last night that [she] was in the middle of the show taking a shower, like, right in the bathroom of Bottom of the Hill with the audience watched!” Everyone giggled at the idea, then the music carried on into conclusion as the band slammed out classics “No Hay Perdon,” “I’m From LA,” off Nothing is More, and the bright song “C’Mon” off Worst Enemy EP.
The three songs made for an enjoyable conclusion. “No Hay Perdon” again established boundaries to a nuisance friend, literally translating to “There is No Forgiveness.” “I’m From LA” gives a glimpse of the LA lifestyle. Bassist Rangel was in the zone, often closing her eyes behind her thick black frame glasses, as her energies added urgency and precision to their score.
“I’m all hung over, feels like nails inside my head
It’s getting hot, the sweat is dripping down my legs
The air conditioner’s still broken from the quake
And now I’m melting like a wax doll in the flames (here in L.A.)
They say I’m lazy, I’m always late
Full of excuses, I’m from L.A
They say I’m careless, can’t find my way
Crazy and precious, I’m from L.A
I’m from L.A” – Go Betty Go “I’m From LA”
“C’Mon” was great for leaving people with nostalgic warmth. Nicolette Vilar’s expressive vocals and blue hair over her sister Aixa Vilar’s action packed drumming and flying wavy blonde locks painted the picture of teenage youth. Earlier in the night Nicolette Vilar admitted that though the band has been together 18 years, they got started young. The show ended as she sang, “I’ve got to go now it doesn’t make much sense,” the song quieted “it’s all that I’ve got left. It’s all that I’ve got left…”
The Glam Skanks are a collection of “bad bitches” now from LA (there are Bay Area roots in the band) that Nicolette Vilar was ecstatic to have on tour, claiming she might have asked them to join the bill for her own entertainment. Recently Glam Skanks had to switch out their lead singer from Ali Cat to Vanessa Von Lust, from the look and sound of it the transition is going well and their skankiness is still in full effect. Glam Skanks songs are thematic and speak to 70s and 80s with many modern day sassy lyrical fuck offs. Phenomenal guitar riffs and sloppy, sensual energy filled the room as they played hard, fast, and flirtatious.
Year of the Fist revved up the crowd with raw riffs and classic punk rock attitude. Squeaky is the lead singer of the quartet who shared unfiltered energy with the crowd. Squeaky found solace on the shoulder of their new bassist, the band were excited to add Bryan Dean to their lineup. Year of the Fist are a phenomenal local punk group with tight composition and their show is a great place to air out ones “dirty laundry.”
Go Betty Go:
Set List: Runaway | Son Mis Locuras | Drown | By Your Side | You’re Your Worst Enemy | The Pirate Song | Cemetery Stone | It Haunts You Now | No Hay Perdon | I’m From LA | C’Mon
Find out more about Go Betty Go on their website. http://www.gobettygo.com/
Year of the Fist:
Learn all about Year of the Fist on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/yearofthefist/
Everything skanky about the band can be found here. https://www.facebook.com/G