L7 with support from Treason Kings
L7 @ 02 ABC, Glasgow
It doesn’t seem like a year since L7 last played in Glasgow but hey, it also doesn’t seem like this band started more than 30 years ago. That is quite some achievement even if they did split up for a good chunk of that time. No matter the reasons or the length of time they were away the fans have stood by them with an upgrade from last years venue in this city showing the love has not dissipated for these ladies.
Support for this tour is from the up and coming Leeds foursome Treason Kings. They have been turning some heads in the music industry and after their performance I can see why. I do have to admit that their inclusion as support on this tour was a strange one. I just didn’t feel that the fit was right with L7 and due to that they did not benefit from the crowd which was a real shame. I got the feeling that a lot of tonight’s audience were reliving younger years and although I may be wrong I don’t expect a large proportion were regular gig goers.
This fact did kind of wind me up as I witnessed a brilliant young band play there asses off and put on a show that would have raised the roof on a lot of other bills. They also got given a decent length of time with a seven song set but to my disappointment the crowd that were there early didn’t really get into them.
As much as I said they were not a real fit with the headliners they had plenty of punk attitude, a little grunge and whole hell of a lot of energy. From the moment the rather shocked looking male rubber doll was placed beside the drum kit and the lads plugged in things did not let up…even when they introduced a song with a “ this is for middle aged men” comment and lulled us into a false sense of calm before going complete batshit crazy on us.
They reminded me of Biffy Clyro with a whole heap of stoner rock thrown in. They have that distorted and fuzzy sound that fits so well with the band. The Biffy comes from the whirlwind that is Harry Scott and the stoner from Sam Wood who looks as if he should be in a good ole Southern band. Both men can play a bit of mean guitar though and all the while beating the crap out of their instruments.
This was their first time in Glasgow, which they readily admitted but mistakenly asked if we classed Leeds as Down South. A huge yes came back but Harry was quick to wriggle out of this as he pointed to Sam and said he is from London. He may be a great guitar/vocalist but I don’t think he would be much good in a fight… in fact I reckon that frantic energy of his would have him overtaking Usain Bolt in the other direction.
As I said it was a travesty that these guys were not on a different bill for their first time gracing a Scottish stage but it was not down to class, commitment or talent. Keep your eye out for these guys and their upcoming EP, “Vale”
1985…just think about that year, were you born? Were you at school or were you just clueless like most of us? I was one year away from finishing school and I was a Metalhead, had been for 5 years. Prior to that punk was my thing and although I moved on I always kept one eye out for my first love and this was where L7 came in. I know people out there may hound me and start shouting “Grunge” at me but I will not accept that, 1, I hated grunge(it killed my beloved hair metal) and 2, I started my teenage years with the likes of SLF, The Skids and The Clash. This music shook me to my core at the time and the dark, dank and greasy sound outshone anything else going in the late 70s.
To me L7 personify that era and with opener “Deathwish” I defy anyone to argue that point with me. What followed was a 19 song class in crusty guitars, bottomed out bass and spat out vocals all tinged with feminine humour and attitude.
It was a greatest hits set played to perfection and although the songs may be short they came at us like a machine gun and flew by. The old school fans were in their element, the younger fans were given a lesson in style and show(wo)manship and I was ecstatic.
It is great after all these years to see this band playing to such a packed venue and actually increasing fans. I am sure even in their 90s heyday they were doing the same kind of numbers so it tells you how well they are remembered and the fact that talent does not fade. I can also confirm that this bugger called old age hasn’t slowed them down. They use that whole stage with abandon and without thought to themselves(or the aches in the morning).
The girls themselves just put the heads down, bums up and get on with their set, there is little time for a chat but they did have to acknowledge what must be up there as the strangest thing ever thrown on stage…four tampons tied together with “We Love You L7” written on it. A major PR event over the last couple of years for Glasgow has been the slogan “People Make Glasgow”, what that says about us I have no idea but if it was tied to the song “I question My Sanity” it would have been spot on.
A lot has happened since those early days and the lyrical content may not shock like they did at the time but the songs are timeless, maybe not so much on record(unless you have the original scratched and creaky vinyls) but live they pack a massive punch as can be seen and heard in the encore tonight. Three songs, three L7 classics in “ American Society”, “Fast And Frightening” and the show stopping, roof raising “ Pretend We’re Dead”. The crowd erupted for this with a mass pogo taking me back to 1979.
This band deserves everything they receive, the adulation, the crowds and the hard earned bucks. The only negative on this is the lack of new material, as great as it is to hear the old songs I would love to hear what the ladies could come up with now…if it kicks ass anywhere as near as their live set they would make a lot of people happy and grab a whole new generation of little innocent, snotty nosed kids who need a REAL education.
Review and Images Ritchie Birnie