L7 Review 15 October 2016
Sitting in a pub across from the Metro Theatre on a Saturday night, I find myself wondering what to expect from a band made up of fifty-year-old women, which has not toured Australia in 20 years and whose heyday was in the 1990s?
The gathering crowd outside the venue doesn't give any clues. There's a mix of men and women that crosses age, socio-economic and sexual spectrums. I find it reassuring that I have spotted at least two fans wearing Ramones T shirts.
All is soon revealed. From the moment that L7 strolls on stage, led by a lean and mean Donita Sparks and tear into ‘Deathwish’ until they end the gig with a selfie of themselves and the delirious crowd in the background (‘For a documentary’ we are assured), the band simply owns the stage and the Metro theatre.
For the first time in years, I find myself in a mosh pit in which real, actual moshing is happening! I have grown so accustomed to observing strict personal space laws at Sydney concerts that nothing prepares me for the joy of being in a crowd that pulsates with energy and love for these women.
I position myself in front of bassist Jennifer Finch, who remains cool and unapproachable throughout the concert. Wearing her characteristic denim shorts she eyes us from behind her dark fringe, aloof, but the guarded grin on her face reveals that she is clearly enjoying the adulation.
The Metro's bouncers, mindful of workplace health and safety, have their ear plugs in place, yet they seem unprepared, scared even by the response of the crowd. Conditioned to expect the usual polite, static Metro audience, tonight, they are dealing with an unknown entity, a crowd that has come to rock and a band that is kicking ass!
I see panic in the eyes of the bouncers, as they (shock, horror!), have to pull crowd surfers out of the audience. I sense their anxiety, when the crowd sings the words to ‘Shitlist’ (you’ve made my shitlist) and ‘Fuel my Fire’ (people like you just fuel my fire) and seem to be directing the words at them.
L7 tears the place up, the first part of the concert is over in what seems like minutes as the joy of their return seems to speed up time. When the band comes back on stage for an encore, I am sweating and bruised by multiple collisions with enthusiastic fans.
As we leave the venue I reflect on how unfair it is that their nineties counterparts, Guns and Roses are engaged in a multi million dollar tour, yet these four women, who I have just witnessed ignite a Sydney audience, are consigned to playing much smaller venues.
As I gingerly touch my bruised ribs I know who I would put my money on if there was ever to be a celebrity death match that pitted Donita and her band against bloated Axl's.
Fuel My Fire
One More Thing
Must Have More
(Eddie & The Subtitles cover)
Pretend We're Dead
Fast and Frightening