Black Belt Eagle Scout performed at the Teragram Ballroom in Downtown Los Angeles on May 23. Black Belt Eagle Scout is a solo project fronted and created by the mind of Katherine Paul, who has been involved in the indie music scene as a part of multiple bands since 2010. She began Black Belt Eagle Scout in 2014 with the release of a self titled EP.
Paul has developed a unique sound using a stylistic blend of various personal influences, including punk/rock music from her childhood, her Native American upbringing, as well as her previous experience as a part of aforementioned indie bands.
This mix allows her music to have an intense and upbeat listening experience that also carries deeper overlying messages. Singing about topics such as queerness and Native American culture, Paul amplifies the voices of minorities and their struggles that so often get brushed under the rug.
As opening act to Julia Jacklin, Black Belt Eagle Scout was given the task of setting the mood for the night — which they did well by raising the spirits of excited audience members. Paul made sure to begin the set by paying homage to the Native American tribe who originally belonged to the land that the venue was built on, and dedicated the first she played to those individuals. She played a handful of notable songs throughout the set, including the popular hits “Soft Stud” and “Indians Never Die.”
As the band took a small break to retune, Paul encouraged the audience to yell out questions for her and the band to answer. “Even if you’re like really shy it’s ok,” she said. “I’m normally really shy.”
This is where we got to see more into the laidback personality of Paul, who answered questions about how she met her band members (“I don’t know, I just kinda know them”), what sign she was (Gemini), and how long she has played guitar (since she was 13).
Performance-wise, Paul and her band were an amazing sight to behold. Her engagement with the audience had them swaying along to every song, and she and her band were overall incredibly enticing as a stage presence. Paul seemed set on making the audience feel comfortable and acknowledged throughout the performance, which only further amplified the enjoyment of the set.
As an exciting finale, Paul brought out main act Julia Jacklin to perform alongside Black Belt Eagle Scout. Paul’s hair-whipping and knee-bouncing to the beat perfectly complimented Jacklin’s passionate vocal renders.
Paul is exactly the type of artist needed in the music industry right now. With a killer talent in the music she produces and a down to earth personality, it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with her.
Though they are in no way her only defining qualities, her queer and indigenous identities are so rarely represented in the mainstream, and are finally brought into the light through her music. The stories she spreads with her songs are ones that need to be told, and it will be exiting to continue to follow her journey as a creative in the industry.