Bedlam on Grand Boulevard:
L.A. Witch returns to Kansas City

Story: Lauren Textor Photos: Kellie Green

Garage rock trio L.A. Witch doesn’t need a bubbling cauldron, vials of neon potions, or voodoo dolls to cast a spell on its audience. For over a decade, the group has been captivating crowds with smoky vocals and a simple instrumental setup: guitar, bass, drums.



Garage rock trio L.A. Witch doesn’t need a bubbling cauldron, vials of neon potions, or voodoo dolls to cast a spell on its audience. For over a decade, the group has been captivating crowds with smoky vocals and a simple instrumental setup: guitar, bass, drums.


Like The Hex Girls, The Weird Sisters, or any other goth-leaning triumvirate of magnetic appeal, L.A. Witch is recognizable for its aesthetic. Every member of the band is able to strike a runway-worthy pose in an instant. They regularly update the group Tumblr account. Horror films like Rosemary’s Baby inspire their eerie, eclectic sound. For those in the know, the name L.A. Witch conjures up images of vengeance goddesses in black.


Ahead of their July 31 concert at recordBar, the band takes a stroll for pictures in front of some of downtown KC’s most striking murals. Without breaking a sweat, the girls laugh about their most hexable enemies (Vladimir Putin; whoever broke into their van), their recent (and spontaneous) trip to the rodeo, and their previous performance in Kansas City.


“The last time we were here, there was a tornado warning,” vocalist and guitarist Sade Sanchez says. “We had to drive out because we had a show the next day. We watched Twister.”


“While it was hailing!” drummer Ellie English laughs.


“It was like a 3D IMAX,” bassist Irita Pai adds. “The Universal Studios experience!”


After 10 years together, most of the band’s conversations are like this. They’re in sync to the point of telepathy, their recollections of tours and shows overlapping with phrases like “Remember when—”



In tandem, they share the story of how English experienced ghostly phenomena in New Orleans, her radio switching on without any prompting at all. Their voices converge while explaining their would-be witches’ familiars. Even the clicking of their heeled leather boots is synchronized.


“Mine would be a Xolo—”


“Oh, mine would be a beagle—”


“Uh, mine would be some kind of weird cat probably?”


This close-knit coven has only strengthened with the years gone by. According to Sanchez, it’s true what the proverbial “they” say: the more things change, the more they stay the same.


“It’s just on a larger scale,” she says. “It’s more people involved, whereas before it was more of us doing everything ourselves—booking, making our own merch, driving ourselves.”


The expansion is deserved. It’s possible to feel like you’re being transported to a grungy, punk nightclub while listening to any one of L.A. Witch’s songs.


The band has only released two albums, but both have all of the intentions of a genuine spellbook. Their self-titled 2017 album and their 2020 Play With Fire clock in at about 30 minutes each. Short? Yes. Sweet? Not so much.


The bitter, violent lyrics of “Kill My Baby Tonight”; the accusatory drum beat on “Brian”; the raw anger in “Sexorexia”—L.A. Witch has the aggression of ‘90s punk with the global context of 2022.


The recordBar crowd digs it, and for good reason. Melodious pop can’t describe the angst of the past few years as concisely as Pai’s chords.


It’s difficult to not project all of your alter ego fantasies onto the trio, what with their dramatic eye makeup and their unshakable coolness. They manage the crowd effortlessly, never flustered by screams of “I love you!” or chants for more. They perform because they love it, but they’re under no obligations.


Despite this, they don’t act untouchable. After the show, Sanchez heads to the merch table to ring up purchases. She signs records with a trusty Sharpie, interacting with every fan in the queue. Her fearsome stage persona cracks when she’s complimented on her performance.


Far from the imagined crones of fairytales, these witches are the future of America’s much-needed resurrection of rock and roll.