I always like a nice surprise, I mean who doesn’t? I recently got a pretty sweet surprise in discovering that a pre-planned trip to the UK for a wedding magically lined up with a show Los Bitchos was playing in Bristol, one of my favorite places in the UK, which is also nearer to Wales, where I tend to spend more of my time over there than not. (Yes, Americans know more places than just London, it’s true!)
Their gig was part of a multi venue festival, Ritual Union, that was taking place in the city that day and saw bands booked for performances at three adjacent venues. As much as I wanted to take in the entire fest, and discover more of the rich local music scene the city/the UK has to offer, I had limited time because I was arriving in the area later in the day via bus—which arrived an hour late because most public transportation was backed up due to the rail strike that day and that cut even further into any time I would have had.
If the timing had been a little better I’d have liked to have taken in more bands but I was also ultimately there for Los Bitchos, so while I did get to check out two other artists who I did enjoy—queer hyper pop from Lynks (who I got a few pics of) and grungey punk from Panic Shack (who I unfortunately did not)—The Bitchos were the priority and who I built my evening around.
Los Bitchos at SWX
I fell in love with the tequila fueled Cumbia/psych/surf instrumental party band during the deep throws of lockdown in 2020 when I discovered their excellent KEXP Trans Musicale performance from 2019 on YouTube. I waited quite a bit of time to get to see them live and was thrilled to finally see them this past June when they made their US/NYC debut and hit Music Hall of Williamsburg, delighting the fervent fans who came out to see them—myself included! (See my coverage.)
I naturally left that night back in June wanting to see them again right away but that whole Atlantic Ocean in between us thing made things kind of inconvenient, so I figured it would be another long wait. Lucky for me my friends picked a good time to get married and I was also blessed to be able to afford to go over early for a little time to relax and have fun before the wedding so I got my wish faster than I expected.
Lead guitarist/percussionist/queen of guitar face Serra Petale again delivered the red hot guitar licks, leading the charge and was backed with the air tight grooves of the rhythm section—drummer Nic Crawshaw and bassist Josefine Jonsson—and the flair of Agustina Ruiz’s synth accents; they were joined this time by their UK based touring rhythm guitarist, Charles Prest (of Noon Garden) who was celebrating his birthday.
Los Bitchos at SWX
Their set again was built around songs from their excellent debut full length, Let The Festivities Begin, and included a new song (which I did not catch the title of, or perhaps it could have been a cover) and their punky rendition of “Tequila,” the instrumental classic by The Champs to wrap up the set. They were less chatty with the crowd than they had been in New York and didn’t have much in the way of cheeky banter this time, focusing mostly on the music and playing several songs at a time back to back, but their performance was no less of the spitfire affair than it had been in Brooklyn and their prowess as musicians was no less at peak levels.
They warned the crowd to get merch quickly after the show “because we are booking it out of here!” So I made sure I went over to get a copy of the LP on green vinyl finally and say hi. Petale and Jonsson were super friendly and as engaging with the fans as they had been in NYC and did in fact remember me from New York—hey it’s always nice to be remembered!
It was a great night out for me, a music nerd finding a musical oasis and a place to connect and feel happy far from home. Now I will sit patiently and wait for the mighty Bitchos to return to the States. No I’m lying, I’ll really be impatiently waiting but with a great soundtrack, the aforementioned copy of Let The Festivities Begin and dreaming of basking in their good time party vibes in person again (sipping on a Coke or a fizzy Vimto for me instead of tequila). But either way you slice it, I’m going to be very excited when they finally reach the hellfire shores of Murica again, very excited indeed.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)