As I no longer have my season ticket for the football I’m attempting to do a higher percentage of gigs over the weekend rather than on a week night, especially if I’m working the next day. Old age finally catching up? For the rest of the month of September this ideology works extremely well, come October it’s looking very busy on the gig front.
For tonight’s entertainment I’m debating a train ride up to Manchester to see Los Angeles rockers L7 for the first time. Formed in 1985 as a punk band, they ended up being quite a big deal in the 1990’s. They eventually split in 2001 but thirteen years later they reformed with a lineup that was together during the mid 80’s for a decade.
When the media started picking up on the female quartet I was in the twilight years of a teenager and listening to more diverse things. Seattle was conquering the planet with plaid clad grunge bands. On the coattails of grunge was the riot grrrl movement. Even though L7 were at that time much more rockier than both genres. With their image of ripped jeans, multi coloured hair, more plaid shirts and a penchant for controversy and writing short catchy tunes they found a wide fan base spread over multiple scenes. Their first two albums were released on Sub Pop and Epitaph, labels at the time synonymous with grunge and pop punk bands respectively.
Most of the bands controversial points seem to have occurred on this side of the Atlantic. Possibly the most infamous is guitarist and vocalist Donita Sparks dropping her jeans and performed nude from the waist down during a live performance of this track on The Word – a late night British TV show – in 1992.
The Word was a magazine show and was quite groundbreaking with some of the musical acts it featured during its tenure, things like Nirvana’s first international TV appearance occurred on an episode of the programme. But the show was fronted by some really annoying and amateur presenters, and the chaotic format revelled in its self induced controversies and enjoyed the condemnation it received in the media. From a musical point of view it could have been a great programme but the rest of the chaff dragged it down, even though it ran for a surprising five years.
Pretend We’re Dead is their breakthrough track and is taken from the groups third release Bricks Are Heavy, which became their most successful album in their career.