Vocalists Deneva Viera and Malley Rosen are a study in contrasts … sort of. Viera is a short Latina who looks like a gust of wind could knock her down, while Rosen is a tall white girl who could probably tear off your head if she so pleased. But when guitarist Michelle Urban and bassist Ryan Ackerman lay down the first few chords of Spanish hardcore-punk anthem “Razones,” Viera and Rosen are as one as they erupt into a ferocious display of gynocentric rock rage.
It’s brutal. It’s intense. It’s Las Vegas band The Broads, and they aren’t taking prisoners.
“We’ve gotten shit for being too crazy onstage, and for getting into people’s faces,” Rosen, a married 18-year-old, says Saturday night before the fivesome takes the “stage” inside a rotting, disgusting squat house located in rural North Las Vegas. “We surprise people.”
The band is also a surprise to those outside Vegas’ underground punk scene. Founded by Urban (now 20) and drummer Cuca Escobar (17) in 2001—when the girls were barely in middle school—The Broads proudly claim that over seven years and more than 100 shows, they’ve played only once in a legitimate “venue,” restaurant/bar The Aristocrat.
“[But] we play pretty much every other weekend,” Viera, 20, says. Surviving means taking chances, so most shows are held in houses, in the desert or at various tattoo parlors. “Wherever we can play, we’ll play,” Escobar says.
While you won’t track down The Broads at the Bunkhouse or Double Down—the girls’ ages rule out most bar appearances—their grindy power-violence-thrash-meets-California-hardcore is doing just fine in the depths of the local underground. About the only time the girls don’t play is when the police break up their parties. “About half of our shows have been busted up by the cops,” says the 16-year-old Ackerman with a tone that borders on braggadocio.
Otherwise, the only things that get to The Broads are tired stereotypes of women who rock. “When we first started coming out, some guy was talking shit about us, like, ‘Oh look, it’s The Donnas,’” Ackerman says. “[Some] people think that a girl band is soft, or they’re not going to be good. But when we start playing, people freak out.”