Fans bring the vibe
TO be taken on The BellRays’ powerful and passionate musical journey, fans need to be willing and ready for the ride. Frontwoman Lisa Kekaula says the moment she walks on stage, she demands everything from the audience. ‘‘I can’t do it all – I can’t sing and make you feel something,’’ she says. ‘‘You have to come ready to surrender.’’ The Californian quartet, who combine garage-rock vibes with soulful vocals, have been playing together for more than 20 years. Kekaula, who formed the band with guitarist Bob Vennum in 1991, says her audience needs to ‘‘unplug’’ to really feel something. ‘‘You are not watching TV. Don’t tweet or text during the show or you might end up with a shattered phone,’’ she says, laughing. ‘‘You need to be there and be present in the moment. I like the idea of people trying to capture a moment, but they get so busy trying to capture it on their phones they don’t see it. They don’t feel it. You can’t be there, with me, if you are wrapped up in that.’’ New album, Black Lightning, released last month, highlights The BellRays’ raw energy and emotion. ‘‘When we play live, we make people feel something, they see it. That’s what we want you to feel on the record.’’ Kekaula says the term ‘‘black lightning’’ can also be used to describe The BellRays live show. ‘‘It’s one of those things, you have to see it. I think a lot of bands are doing what we do, just not in the same ways. They don’t have a black, female singer fronting. With most of the bands people love (in this genre), it’s a white guy with a growling voice.’’ Kekaula says people love androgynous rock vocals. ‘‘Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Jack White, Led Zeppelin – the whole play with whether it’s a male or female creates a very sexual sound,’’ she says.
– ROSE SADLEIR
The BellRays and Spurs for Jesus play Coolangatta Hotel Saturday night.
US rockers The BellRays