Lauren Ruth Ward
Same Sex Mary, The Acid Sisters
124 South 11th Street
Las Vegas, NV, 89101
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:30 PM (event ends at 12:30 AM)
This event is 21 and over
Lauren Ruth Ward
I fucking nail second chances ... says Lauren Ruth Ward, benignly reflecting on the time she got expelled from high school in her junior year. With aged wisdom beyond her years, she reminisces about her hometown of Baltimore, where her upbringing was what the songstress lovingly refers to as a “cocktail for being an artist;” She grew up splitting her time between a bohemian mother — “I’m very pragmatic, and she would call that cold and intense” — and some weekends with her father — “He’s a ‘healthy republican,’” she says with a laugh. From a young age, she also had a natural drive for creativity, with the talent to back it. “I was wearing a beehive every day in sophomore year,” she says, describing how she’s always had a knack for doing hair. “Junior, senior year, ‘scene’ was really in and I was like a ‘scene’ queen. I had a splash of blonde over here, splash of blonde over there.”
Meanwhile, Ward also taught herself to sew clothes, as well as sing and play guitar, taking cues from the music of her childhood — ‘70s rock and her mom’s old disco compilations — and the music of her teens: Mirah, Elliott Smith, basically anything “emotional, folky and dismal,” she says. (If you’re curious, that combination lands Ward somewhere between Janis Joplin and Courtney Barnett.)
When graduation rolled around and it came time to pick a career, Ward took on hairstyling. By 22 she had a fully booked calendar with cancellation backups at the salon where she worked and was running her own wedding updo business. She was ambitious, successful, and doing work she loved, yet something was missing. “I saw the music then, but I was behind a chair six days a week,” says Ward about coming to terms with pursuing another career. “To be honest, I wanted a band,” she continues, “every time I found someone to play with, they had a day job — they didn’t have the dream. And you really gotta fuckin’ have it to live in a world that’s musical.”
So in 2015, Ward packed up her life and road tripped to her new home of Los Angeles. After a challenging, perfectionistic pursuit, Ward came together with a band: Liv Slingerland (bass), India Pascucci (drums) and guitarist and fellow songwriter Eduardo Rivera. “They all call me ‘Mom,’” she says with a laugh. “It’s like getting three new best friends that you’re giving the most personal part of yourself.” They’ve even got matching jackets.
Together, they created Ward’s debut album, Well, Hell, a nine track sampler of what she calls the band’s “four modes.” There’s the “heaven of the album,” “Did I Offend You?,” a sweet, airy, swiftly cadenced track which crescendos into a powerful chant: “You’re only breaking down/ you’re only breaking down/ you’re only breaking down.” Then there’s the “hell,” “Blue Collar Sex Kitten,” a full-throttle rock song that dives head first into distorted chords, sexuality — “I’m a dyke/ dated guys/ ain’t a crime/ won’t apologize for my tribe,” sings Ward — and a psychedelic breakdown that sounds like lucid dreaming. There’s the band’s acoustic mode, made up by breathy tracks like “Travel Man,” and finally Ward’s poppier side, heard on “Sideways” — a funky, retro take on soul-searching and feeling lost — and “Sheet Stains,” a bluesy ode to her fianceé, indie pop mega-star LP, who sings backup vocals on the track.
The band’s chameleonic moods are punctuated by Ward’s playfulness with her bandmates on stage, dancing with audience and her signature white dotted eyes. Ward’s music has even gained her a dedicated international fanbase — in fact, three fans flew from France to be at the Well, Hell record release show in Los Angeles.
In some ways, Well, Hell is Ward’s second chance at a career doing what she loves most: creating. “I could totally have done a version of this in Baltimore, but not the way I’ve done it here,” Ward says of making music in Los Angeles. In others, Ward hasn’t changed a bit — you can still catch her doing hair, though now it’s under a batch of clementine trees at her house. “I had four clients at my house today,” she says with a laugh as she preps for a show. “I just picked the hair out from underneath my nails.” Either way, one thing’s for sure: there’s no telling what’s in store for Ward and company. “This is definitely a different life for me,” she says. “This is Lauren 2.0.”
Same Sex Mary
Like many large creatures, Same Sex Mary started as a small thing, and it only ate a boyfriend, a girlfriend and a handful of songs. It was cute. People liked it. But an electric guitar and an old Farfisa organ wasn't enough to tame the beast. It got hungry. It needed more. So while roaming the streets of downtown Las Vegas one night, Same Sex Mary found a barefoot guitarist with dancing fingers, and it gobbled him up (barefooted people can't run very fast). But the guitarist's hairy toes tickled on the way down and made Same Sex Mary thirsty. Luckily, it soon found a guy who had a tattoo proclaiming his love of beer, and it swallowed him whole, hoping he would be full of beer. Unfortunately he didn't have much beer in his belly and his afro was drier than that guitarist's hairy toes, but he tasted good. Same Sex Mary had heard somewhere that a good drummer goes best with a good bassist, so, this other night, as a popular bassist was arriving to a bar on his motorcycle, Same Sex Mary pounced again. The bassist never saw it coming, partially because there was no low-end rumble to alert him, and partially because his hair was in his eyes. But after eating that bassist Same Sex Mary had grown too big and loud to go sneaking up on anyone. When it was coming down the street everyone knew about it, even the newspapers. So instead of musicians, it started cornering and swallowing whole rooms of people. Some called it rock and roll … until they were in Same Sex Mary's belly (then they just called it dark). One day, it was looking for a comic book store and accidentally walked into a recording studio, where it crossed paths with the feared Same Sex Mary-eating tape machine. The fight lasted about a week, but when the dust and guitar strings settled, Same Sex Mary found itself consumed by the tape machine, who was pregnant at the time with a baby reel of magnetic recording tape. Well, months passed, and the tape machine gave birth to a big fat vinyl record. If Same Sex Mary were a folk rock band from Nevada and not a mythical creature, it would probably tell you the record was named "Sex Cells" and their friend who wrote their bio was on drugs. However, that's not the case, because Same Sex Mary isn't even real. Sorry, kids.
The Acid Sisters
Psychedelic / Garage / Rock. Las Vegas.