Okay, so I’m figuring most people reading this know about L7, the Los Angeles-based band that started back in 1985 fusing hard rocking riffs and growling vocals. But juuuust in case, let me fill you in a bit following their awesome show at The Fillmore Silver Spring recently.
Like fellow pioneer Joan Jett (whose label Blackheart Records released the band’s most recent full-length record), L7 melds punk and hard rock — largely shown in the media as a male dominated genre — and helped open critics eyes to a host of brilliant female-fronted bands. They also put on one of the best live performances you’ll witness!
Although after a 13-year break, L7 returned to touring, it wasn’t until this year’s LP, Scatter the Rats, that the band released new material — their first record since 1999’s Slap-Happy. And, wow, it’s a heavily brilliant record. Songs like “Stadium West” and “Garbage Truck” have that punk vibe a la the Ramones while others like “Burn Baby Burn” sound both like classic L7 but at the same time fresh and exciting.
The band’s classic line up of Donita Sparks (vocals/guitar), Suzi Gardner (guitar/vocals), Jennifer Finch (bass/vocals), and Demetra “Dee” Plakas on drums has been touring and made a stop at The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 28 to an enthusiastic audience.
Stream Scatter the Rats by L7 on Spotify:
Opening the evening was an amazing set by Le Butcherettes (see the review of their recent DC9 show here). The quartet brought an energy that was a treat to witness as frontperson Teri Gender Bender pulled the audience in with her manic performance.
As the L7 took the stage, the crowd was ready, as Donita, Jennifer, and Suzi walked to the edge of the stage and played to the fans while Dee’s thunderous drums echoed across the room. Playing a mix of old favorites (“Andres,” “Freak Magnet”) and new songs (“Burn Baby,” “Studio West”), the band brought fun and a dose of political punches to a hungry crowd. One of the new songs not on Scatter the Rats, “Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago,” got a huge applause as the crowd sang along to “Storming the gates of Mar-a-Lago.”
During the set, Donita welcomed Dee back to the band, saying she had broken her arm last year. But you’d be hard pressed to tell as Dee’s drumming was as strong and powerful as ever. And, speaking of powerful, this band proved not only that their music is as important as ever but that as a live band, their performance was energetic and empowering.
Saving one of my favorites for the encore, L7 came out to play “Shitlist” (seriously, just hearing the title gets my brain playing the song!) and the Eddie & The Subtitles tune, “American Society,” then finished off the night with the hit “Pretend That We’re Dead” — adding to the verse, “They’re not moral or a majority… they’re just assholes!” It was an amazing night of rock ‘n’ roll!
L7 continue their tour through the summer, and they’re one not to miss. Check out upcoming dates here.
Here are some photos of L7 performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 28, 2019. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.