The prototypical grunge, riot grrrl, and all-around badass rockers by the name of L7 came by Brooklyn Steel to shred out an electrifying show after making good on their full reunion vows of their mini reunification tour a couple years back. I ecstatically saw them last they came through a played the Warsaw in 2015, but this time, they have a couple of brand new songs to load in their arsenal after announcing the release of their first album in 20 years that will be out sometime in 2019 via the Don Giovanni label. Ravenous fans may have to achingly wait just a bit longer for that full LP, but they definitely quenched some of those insatiable thirsts with this show, where they gave their devotees a grand buffet of new morsels and classic vittles to devour.
LA’s rabble-rousing Death Valley Girls raised a burning hell of their own as the opening act. In a fire devil of blaring guitars, they came blasting in from lands somewhere between Black Sabbath, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and Sleater-Kinney. Within their music, they slam capitalism, call out for women’s rights, praise anti-consumerism, and give a big middle finger at the bullshit-filled patriarchal world. Singer Bonnie Bloomgarden nails the captivating and charming frontwoman role, as she lets out a witchy, haunting howl, crying out like the Sirens calling out to lure you into the rocks, where they will then shred you with incredibly potent power chords, ferocious rhythms, and head-thrashing bass lines.
To say L7 were far ahead of their time is an extreme understatement. They blazed out a role for an all-female hard rock band long before that would be considered anywhere near acceptable by the music scene at large, and played an essential role in the alternative rock explosion that grabbed the rock world in the early 90’s. They were grunge well before any other band dared be that raw, they were riot grrrl way before most women would dominate a mosh pit, and they even perfected the “fuck the hell off” message for a whole new generation of rockers before the Berlin Wall fell. Their early 90’s albums Bricks Are Heavy and Hungry for Stink are often touted as the most treasured rock epics of that whole decade, but by the end of the 90’s, the band had finally spun out of control and were effectively dead as a doornail, as excellently recounted in their superbly DIY documentary film L7: Pretend We’re Dead that was just released last year.
Now, the classic lineup of shredding frontwoman/guitarist Donita Sparks, the barefoot bassist Jennifer Finch, drummer Dee Plakas, and lead axe-woman Suzi Gardner are back in better-than-ever form. The new songs like “Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago” and “I Came Back to Bitch,” set the perfect anti-Trump and “go to hell patriarchy” tones, while classics like “Pretend We’re Dead,” “Shitlist,” and “Fuel My Fire” made the super-sweaty most pit hard to resist, and the inclusion of their old Agent Orange cover of “Bloodstains” really helped bring it all back to their face-melting roots. It is better than ever to see L7 back in the spotlight and I’m excited to see what they do next.
Article: Dean Keim