It’s always nice to see a band that drag you back to a time and place. L7 are one such band – they rode the crest of the Riot Grrl punk wave of the 90’s, with contemporaries like Sleater Kinney, Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and The Breeders.
At the Ritz in Manchester they were ably supported by Leeds based Alt-rockers Treason Kings. Despite being young enough to have been in utero when In Utero was released, Treason Kings brought a grungey Nirvana and Melvins influenced roar to the room. They shook the venue awake.
During the gig they confessed it was the first time that they’d played a room the size of the Ritz. The exposure they gain supporting L7 on the UK dates will raise their profile and I anticipate seeing more of them.
L7, on the other hand, demonstrated their experience. They had a command of the room, aided by their effortless charisma and cool. The crowd were eager and enthusiastic. Lead woman Sparks was chatty, bemoaning the length of time since their last gig in Manchester.
L7 kept the energy level high with a raucous opening into Everglade. Everglade is a ‘Girls to the front’ kind of anthem, so it was ironic that a crowd of elbow throwing guys responded instead. ‘That-guy-at-every-punk-show-who-takes-his shirt-off’ fulfilled his purpose and lived up to his name.
Overall the vibe was good, thanks to a mix of seasoned gig-goers and new fans.
The momentum was raised and the band maintained it, sticking to their powerful back catalogue – even ‘songs from our latest record’ harked back to ’99 – and these were few and far between. The set was composed mainly of the harder guitar grind of their mid 90’s Albums, with occasional dips into Beauty Process to allow the audience chance to catch their breath.
While the Treason Kings were finding their feet on the stage, L7 dominated it. They flooded the room with sound and lifted the crowd off its feet, the journey through their musical evolution underlined with the constant waves of riot grrl cool.
L7 and Treason Kings played the Ritz in Manchester on 10th September 2016