Many bands mining classic rock for inspiration these days sound like sonic fetishists or kitschy tongue-in-cheekers. There's plenty of blues in Gata Negra's rock, but to paraphrase George Carlin, singer/guitarist Whitney Rehr doesn't just know what notes to play — she knows why they need to be played. The group doesn't sound like it learned its craft by merely listening to old rock-and-roll records; as Sandra Bernhard once said about Heart, Rehr plays music like she's lived it, drank it, snorted it and loved it vigorously. Instead of coming out on the other end of life's seedy side hardened and bitter with music to match, Gata Negra (slated for the Lion's Lair on Sunday, November 9) offers thoughtful and soulful evocations of how the worst of times can strengthen the heart instead of destroying the spirit.
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