LOS ANGELES, CA- If there’s one thing I love more than seeing a band that I like perform live, it’s seeing them perform better than I had remembered them in the first place.

Back in 2014, I went to a small dive venue to check out FEA: a San Antonio based band founded by two members (Jenn Alva and Phanie Diaz) of one of my fave bands, Girl In A Coma . Their brand of Riot Grrrl punk steamrolled my ear drums, putting the punk back into punk rock.

But since that show, the band has matured and made a few changes. Guitarist Aaron Magana is still shredding the axe for them, but they have added more killer music to their repertoire and are now fronted by a new singer, Letty Martinez, and my, oh my … She is a revelation.

Let’s start with the music. Their self titled debut album was released last year, and with producers like Alice Bags (who was at this show, BTW), Lori Barbero and Laura Jane Grace lending their talents to the project, Fea created a superb pop-punk album that maintains a fierce Riot Grrrl ethos. While the album’s sonics touch on bits of rockabilly and surf rock, it never strays too far from a punk core, and the group is able to convey it’s politically charged messages addressing topics like rape-culture, racism and religion with the punk urgency it deserves.

But despite the relatively heavy themes they sing about, Letty Martinez is able to perform the music in a way that’s entertaining without being heavy handed. Sure, she dons a scowl while singing heated lyrics, but her energy onstage is so uplifting that it never feels like she’s preaching or blaming. If anything, it’s engaging and explaining.

The kinship amongst the band members was also a joy to watch. Whether it was Jenn and Aaron down on their knees in a “dueling banjos” moment, or when all of the members encircled Phanie as she viciously pounded out the beat on an extended drum break, their “all for one, and one for all” bond made someone like me wish I was in the band with them as well.

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