Review / Hands Off Gretel @ Louisiana


By Abel Cisterna, Msc Education Leadership and Policy

'I was curious about Hands Off Gretel. The first time I knew about them was on a patch in some punk's jacket at a gig.'

There are plenty of music genres that have broken out of the time and context in which they developed, to establish and continue evolving over time. On the other hand, there are some that in spite of their importance and influence, didn't get to the same level of installation as a sound. I feel that happened with some of the sounds derived from the alternative music explosion in the early nineties, a very prolific decade thanks to the huge commercial success of a variety of alternative bands which paved the way to others to release quality records that, although they didn't have the same commercial success, became important for different generations of people. Their gig at The Louisiana showed that the legacy from that decade is still present in music creation nowadays.

The first band to go on stage was the duo Miss Kill. My first thought when seeing them on stage was "these girls must still be in high school!", and my second thought after their first song was "I would have loved to have a band like this in my high school years!" basically because you don't see that attitude on a young band as if they had many years of experience very often. I loved their personality and how they manage to sound like a dozen in spite of being two and without sounding exaggeratedly heavy. In addition, in spite of the 90s vibe and Nirvana resemblance of their sound they also managed to draw from that and sound fresh, loud and interesting.

With the name of the second band, I have to say that my prejudice made me think they would be like a 2000s screamo band or something like that. Although As Sirens Fall showed music arrangements relatable to bands from the 2000s, I found them more like if Taking Back Sunday were a motorcycle gang. Very emotional but very rock n' roll at the same time. Aggressive pop as they describe themselves. Their frontman was also very enthusiastic and his constant interactions with the audience were successful in making us engage with the band.

I was curious about Hands Off Gretel. The first time I knew about them was on a patch in some punk's jacket at a gig. When I listened to them, I found them relatable to punk rock but with a 90s vibe. I Watched their videos and they also had something that made me remember about the nineties (apart from a YouTube user's comment describing the band as "No Doubt meets heavy metal"). However, seeing them live was a piece of advice to forget about nostalgia and appreciate the band's youthful and angry music as it is happening right now.

Their songs were the reflection of issues that have existed in youth for long but have not been addressed properly until recently and still not very seriously. Mental health, body image, depression, and the general feeling of despair being an outsider in a world full of desirable stereotypes that we don't want to fill in. Hands Off Gretel showed an interesting mixture of anger and melody throughout their set, as well as surprise as the people in attendance filled the venue and even knew the songs from their latest record, which for a young band that has built a reputation mainly from DIY effort is always an achievement.  

In summary, an interesting line up for a Thursday night from people using music as a communication channel to express themselves and find a space where being an outsider and playing loud music is welcome by local outsiders who enjoy loud music.