There were several gatherings of music fans in the Twin Cities last night. If you considered yourself sassy, yet sensitive – you were at the Fine Line enjoying Kate Nash. If you are into discussing the merits of IPAs, Beard Oil, and the meaning of whatever Bon Iver was currently doing – the first of 4 sold out shows at the Palace was your home. Young and hip? The Advanced Placement Tour at the Amsterdam. But if even the thought of missing the L7 show at First Ave made you want to flip the finger and headbutt whoever suggested such insanity, more likely than not, you were there with us old and young punks and grunge rockers.
First up was Death Valley Girls, self described as “Hell’s House Band”. Their style is gutter rock. It’s the kind of music that would be perfectly at home in an old Russ Meyer movie, or a Quentin Tarantino flick. Their guitars are blazing fast, without the raw, unrehearsed feel that some punk bands bring to the stage. I found myself struggling to describe it – it’s …… polished? Nah. Smooth? Hell No. Angry, Aggressive? Maybe a bit. It just freaking works for me. Singer Bonnie Bloomgarden’s voice is distinctive. Intense and driving, it fit perfectly with the energy of the band on stage.
Set List: Abre Camino / Street Justice / More Dead / Boogie / Born Again And Again / I’m A Man Too / Disaster
L7 got their start in the mid 80s. They are often thrown in with grunge, but to me their punk element was alway distinctive. After breaking up in 2001, there silence for over a decade. Then (as we have seen so many other times) band members matured, the drama of the past seemed not so dramatic anymore, and getting L7 back together was only a question of time.
They returned in 2014 in force and started touring again and released a couple of singles with “I Came Back To Bitch” being their most recent. To understand how important L7 to generations is of women rockers, I will drop 2 names: Lori Barbero of Babes in Toylands, and the band that picked up the Babe’s torch and kicks ass everytime they hit the stage – Bruise Violet. Both were there and having a ball.
The band took the stage and brought the set up to speed with the acceleration usually only found at a drag race. Their first song “Deathwish” shook whatever dust had settled on the memory of their fans off. “Andres” showed off their metal influence with heavy guitar riffs and synced hair flips.
I did not get a chance to see L7 in their first life, but the fun and joy that lit up the stage was undeniable. The constant movement on stage had the performers coming together for brief rock out moments creating cool visuals. The band had a special moment to share, describing the feel when they pulled up in their tour bus, to find their star still shining from First Avenue’s exterior. After last night’s performance, there is no danger at all of that star coming down anytime soon.
Set List: Deathwish \ Monster \ Everglade \ Andres \ Scrap \ Fuel My Fire \ One More Thing \ Off the Wagon \ Slide \ Crackpot Baby \ Must Have More \ Drama \ I Came Back to Bitch \ Shove \ Freak Magnet \ Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago \ Shirley \ Shitlist Encore: Bloodstains \ Pretend We’re Dead \ Fast and Frightening