L7 Breathes Life Into A Sleepy Sunday


My apartment is in shambles after being gone all day Saturday and most of Sunday for the Mosh Out Suicide event in Alexandria. My mom would be absolutely appauled. Instead of cleaning up and getting ready for the week, I spent my day sleeping and dreaming of my next concert which, thankfully for me and to no surprise to anyone, was Sunday night. So after a couple of hours of being completely worthless on the couch and paying some much needed attention to my cats, I bundled up and headed out into the chilly Minnesota “spring” weather.

Getting things started in the most perfect way was a personal favorite of mine- Le Butcherettes. I had the absolute honor of stumbling into their show at The Turf Club just a couple of months ago. I walked into that one knowing nothing about the group and left a die-hard fan. Being able to see them again in such a quick turn around was truly special and as soon as they took the stage and jumped into their set I was instantly reminded why I had fallen so head over heels in love with this band back in February.

It takes zero time to become completely captivated by vocalist Teri Gender Bender. There’s something so theatrical and emotional about her movements but also something so real and so intense about her. The intensity in her physical movements matches the intensity of Le Butcherettes’ music in the most perfect way. A perfect blend of punk and garage rock, it’s music that makes you move but also music that makes you feel. The passion that flows from this band is unimaginable and although Teri solely speaks in Spanish when addressing the crowd, you can still feel her passion and her heart even though you can’t understand what she’s saying (unless your Spanish is on point).

Full disclosure, Le Butcherettes was the main reason I went to the show last night. It’s not that I didn’t like the headlining act (I knew who they were but honestly don’t know much of their music), more that Le Butcherettes had just left such an impression on me the first time I saw them that I would do anything to go see them again. Their set seemed short and at only thirty minutes, left me wanting oh so much more but they could have honestly played all night and that still wouldn’t have been enough for me. I loved the way that as they cleared off the stage the audience was still left chanting and screaming for more. I seriously can not say enough good things about this opening act and my words will never do their live show justice so please just go see them live and let them absolutely blow your mind.

Los Angeles based L7 was the headlining act of the night and clearly a much anticipated one judging by the sense of excitement in the older audience. One of the original all female punk bands, to say that L7 is legendary wouldn’t be a stretch. They were at the top of their game from 1985 to 2001 and even after a short break until 2014, they never lost the sound or energy that made them famous. Being able to see such a legendary band after so many years in an intimate venue like The Varsity Theater and knowing just how much they have done for women in the scene was truly humbling to say the least.

With over twenty songs in their setlist, L7 left no stone un-turned and although I couldn’t sing along like the rest of the audience, it was impossible to not get a rush of energy while watching the four women power through their set. Definitely garage rock with an edge leaning towards grunge and another edge leaning towards punk, there was something about their music that stayed true to the old days while feeling completely new and progressive. Even with an album that just came out previously this year, L7 knew what the audience wanted to hear and seemed to focus on those old classics more than the new hits which just added to the party-like atmosphere that had taken over what could have been a sleepy Sunday night.

Although their set was full of over twenty songs, much like the set from Le Butcherettes, L7’s set felt short. Honestly, I think that just had to do with the pure energy that the band gave off. From the way that vocalist Donita Sparks had this glimmer of aggression in her voice to the always moving guitarist Suzi Gardner, the bubbly energy of bassist Jennifer Finch and the relentless pounding from drummer Demetra Plakas all of the members clearly brought something different to the stage but somehow all of those pieces meshed together to make something perfect. Far from their wild days of Donita throwing a used tampon into a crowd (no, seriously, look up their 1992 Reading Festival performance) and pulling her pants down on live TV (1992 was clearly a year for Donita), there’s something still so powerful about their live performance and, just like a fine wine, they truly are just getting better with age.

I may not have been singing along to every word of L7’s set but I felt the power of just what they have done with women in the scene and that left me absolutely speechless. I feel like this band never got the attention they deserved but I truly hope the women in the group understand just what they have done. Being able to see a band like that live is more impressive than any stadium show I have ever been to or will ever see.