Levitation Live Shot: Las Robertas

Reverb overlay can’t obfuscate Spanish for “vicious”

Las Robertas invaded the Reverberation Stage at Levitation on Saturday afternoon, brewing sludgy reverb that cut clear through to the nearby Levitation Tent. The Costa Rican “Latina garage” trio has seen a larger crowd just once before, when they opened “randomly” for Pearl Jam.

During that performance they were threatened with an iPhone pelting.

“But you’re the biggest cool crowd,” offered guitarist/singer Mercedes Oller.

Mercedes Oller (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Oller, bassist Monserrat Vargas, and drummer Fabrizio Durán form a fearsome power trio, cutting through material from last year’s blistering sophomore effort, Days Unmade. The pendant hanging from a choker at Oller’s neck swung as she shredded the biting “Ojos con Dientes.” Her haunting harmonies with Vargas showed no flicker of nerves.

The frontwoman revealed even more of her wild side in the intro to “Pixies vs. Tool.”

“I got trashed at a bar once ... I was DJing, playing the Pixies,” she explained, in an ankle-length floral print dress, guitar over her shoulder. A patron requested not too kindly that she change over to Tool. Her response was about as generous as you’d expect.

Every time Oller introduced a song in Spanish she sounded a little sheepish, but reminded herself, “With the reverb overlay, you can’t understand the lyrics anyway. But it’s in Spanish.” Ever universal, their murky garage rock gave way to hip-bruising reggaeton (“Better Days”) and descended into drowsy surf rock. As the sun set on the Reverberation Stage, the guitarist peeled out a vicious wave of distorted riffs.

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La Robertas, Levitation Fest 2015, Mercedes Oller, Monserrat Vargas, Fabrizio Durán, Pearl Jam, Tool, Pixies

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