LOS ANGELES – Sabina Sciubba was an avant-garde vision in soft pink hues. The frontwoman for Brazilian Girls brought pizazz as soon as she paraded onto the El Rey Theatre stage, keyboardist Didi Gutman and guitarist Jesse Murphy welcoming her in with open arms. The band, which had been away for a decade, started with the trippy but appropriate banger “Looking for Love,” opening the set with bizarre splendor.
Moving on to “Pirates,” off of their new album, Let’s Make Love, Sciubba lacked nothing in vivacious personality as she worked the crowd, dancing and wooing the crowd. She commandeered a fan’s pair of LED glasses with animated hearts and wore them for the most the show. Brazilian Girls covered most of their new album, from “Go Out More Often” to the “World Wide Web,” with fans faithfully singing along.
The pace slowed down for a bit as Sciubba sang “Karakoy.” “You know who you are; let’s remember our time in Karakoy,” she said. This single moment of shy demureness rang with affection for character of the song. Meanwhile, Brazilian Girls’ intimate bond showed as Gutman gave her a knowing look following the dedication.
After the sultry song, Sciubba led the band and the fans to unleash their frenetic dance demons. “Balla Balla” got everybody jumping to the samba beat. At the song’s midpoint, Sciubba spotted two young boys around 10 years old in the crowd and pulled them on stage to dance with her. The grinning boys stayed there for several songs, with the frontwoman showering them with affection.
“Let’s make love and remember we are alive everyone,” Sciubba said as the show progressed. Beckoning people to join hands, she accentuated the night’s communal dynamic. The audience obliged and became one big happy dancing family, screaming “Let’s make love” at the top of their lungs. Following a brief break the band returned fresh-faced and closed the show with their most-beloved single, “Pussy,” turning the dimly lit El Rey into a madhouse of love. Sciubba encouraged the crowd to come on stage, and that quickly escalated from three people to an energized mob of 30 or more.
Gutman showed a glimpse of his vocal range by leading the crowd in a singalong, while Murphy swayed from side to side as if he was in a daze and seeming to forget he was also there to play the guitar. The band turned the three-minute song into a 15-minute party.
Opener Loud Forest was a sweet surprise. Although less synthy and electronic live than on record, the husband and wife tandem captured the crowd’s attention with opening soft rock ballad “Free” and eventually touching on shoegaze, folk, rock and pop.
Their separate styles reflected Bernard and Rachel Chadwick’s very different personas. He looked like something out of the late ’90s punk or grunge band, while she resembled an ethereal daisy queen. But the two complemented each other through impressive vocal arrangements. Their backing band expertly played the groundwork, with the guitar player expertly hitting riff after impressing riff on songs like “I’m Not Your Girl” and recent single “Hold On.”
Follow writer Vic Silva at Twitter.com/VicSilvaaaa.