I’ve been known to criticize Dallas crowds for being ambivalent to great performances by artists from all genres. But, last night my Dallas brothers and sisters made me proud. The legendary L7 was in town promoting their latest album, Scatter the Rats (their first album of new material in almost 20 years), and Dallas was about as loud and appreciative as I’ve witnessed in a very long time. This crowd didn’t show up to hear “Pretend We’re Dead” and promptly leave to beat traffic, rather each song – old and new – was greeted by an enormous amount of appreciation. Whether they were screaming in pure joy, singing along, or pogo-ing every time the band did, Dallas was amped up to see the band and celebrate their return to the stage.
The always incredible Le Butcherettes opened the show at 8:00pm. Playing a short (exactly 30-minutes) set, the band made the most of their time on stage. Drawing mostly on material from their latest album bi/MENTAL, the band was typically amazing. Vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Teri Gender Bender held the crowd captive as she orchestrated the set with her every twitchy move and contortion. Her band, consisting of drummer Alejandra Luna, bassist Marfred Rodríguez-López, and guitarist Riko Rodríguez-López were spot-on every step of the way. Indeed, there are very few bands who deliver purely mesmerizing performances as consistently as Le Butcherettes.
At 9:00pm, the curtain opened and L7 was met with a packed house who was down right giddy with excitement. The band played a 21 song set consisting of material from six of their seven albums. Bricks Are Heavy got the most attention, but whether or not the crowd was comprised of fans who were introduced to the band by way of their 1992 album was unclear, because every song in the set was adored. Even new songs, like 2017’s single “Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago” or “Burn Baby” and “Stadium West,” from their latest Scatter the Rats, had the crowd in a frenzy. “Shove,” from 1990’s Smell the Magic, incited the first mosh pit of the night, one that persisted for the next few songs. Donita Sparks (guitars), Suzi Gardner (guitar), and Jennifer Finch (bass) switched lead vocal duties as songs dictated, but they all provide harmonies that were pitch perfect. Dee Plakas was a little hard to see behind her drum kit, but her playing propelled the songs forward and her presence was certainly felt. Considering this was only the fourth stop on their tour, the band sounded like they had been on the road all year.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Corey Smith (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –