Review Credit: Kore Rozzik
Photo Credit: Emmy Susani
It's very rare in this jaded, oversaturated market that is American live music that a show can have such sentimental value and genuine excitement. For this past week's show of L7 at Irving Plaza in NYC - I can say it truly was a show that was checked off the boxes and had this OG fan stoked. The show does come with some precedence for the fact that I saw them at said venue for the first time 25 years ago on their Beauty Process tour escorted by my music-eccentric and supportive father. (Not to mention, sadly, 2022 marked my father's 20th anniversary of passing away.) I'd be lying if I wasn't cheerful and tearful all in the same moment. The venue has since been tastefully renovated with new decor and a basement speak easy bar sans pandemic.
Opening band Omat from Brooklyn was definitely a hipster's delight. Only a band from the gentrification capital of the world could have a name like that. With that said, I won't forgot the name. The band was female-fronted, and I was genuinely impressed. Their opening song, which was the best one, reminded me of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins. It probably was the cause of my current bout of ear infection, but the band sincerely had a no formula genuineness that is long lost in my usual wheelhouse of polished heavy metal.
After Omat left the stage, the fans prepared for the arrival of L7 who were doing their 30th anniversary of arguably their most popular effort "Bricks are Heavy". The crowd began to pile up closer and closer to the front for the arrival of the "first ladies of grunge". I don't know if they were ever called that, but I'm saying it here. Even though, to be fair, what is grunge? L7 formed in Los Angeles in the 80s competing with other art bands and the usual suspects of the sunset strip. I always admired the band as they took a more honest raw unpolished version of metal and blended it with punk and new wave elements.
Finally the band entered the stage and broke out into the first track of the record "Wargasm". The band had good spirits and energy right out the gate. It was fun to hear favorites "Scrap", "Diet Pill", and the never-played "This Ain't Pleasure". The ladies joked twice before the hits "Pretend That We're Dead" and "Shit List" that, if you leave now, you'll be attacked. I'm sure the band is aware those songs are their most popular and there was a fair amount of "Gen Z'ers" who were probably attending solely for the few better known songs and their much-respected and documented title as women's rights activists.
The first half of the show was a friendly reminder of how great an album "Bricks Are Heavy" really is. I would put it right up there with other classics of its day. I'm happy to say that it does appear on al ot of "Best of the 90's" lists featured by major publications such as Rolling Stone.
The band then broke into a second set that could best be described as the "career review" with fan favorites and deep cuts. I was surprised to hear some tracks from their later records that many people in attendance did not recognize. This was definitely for the hardcore fans. As always, they did play classics "Fast And Frightening" and "Andres", which was the first every L7 song I heard on the radio when I was kid.
All in all the show truly gave fans the full L7 experience/ Playlist . I left with my commemorative L7 hoodie, and thoughts of my youth became to flash in my mind of playing L7 cassettes in my grandma's basement. Glad to see the girls are still at it. There is something to be said about seeing a band of this age still with their classic lineup intact. I highly recommend you make it out to one of their shows on this tour.
It's a treat and not the tampon kind.