Live review: Pam and Mark Schaff
Photos: Pam and Mark Schaff
It’s been three years since we last got to see L7 (September 2015 in Toronto) after they announced their return to the stage. And when they announced Cleveland as the closest they were gonna be to Buffalo, we wasted no time grabbing tickets. We packed the car with as many people as we could and headed out on the 4-hour drive to the Beachland Ballroom Sunday night for a sold-out show in Cleveland, Ohio. The weather tried to stop us with an ice storm as we were leaving and tornado warnings near Cleveland but nothing was stopping this trip to Cleveland to see the mighty L7!
We got to the venue early and we paid a visit to the cool vintage shop downstairs called This Way Out, where we bought some cool records and a vintage Time Life Magazine from 1969 with the infamous Charles Manson cover, because why not, right? Afterward, we grabbed a bite to eat and with a few beers in our bellies, we headed back to the venue and made our way right to the front of the stage where we stayed for the entire night. We wanted the best seat in the house and we got it!
Death Valley Girls
Death Valley Girls were first to take the stage. We were looking forward to checking this band out. Stumbled onto them about a year or so ago on Youtube, and really love their music and to see them live was nothing short of amazing! I can’t stop telling people to check this band out, they are that good. They brought their self-described “Gutter Rock” and “California Doom Boogie” to Cleveland on this night and got the crowd pumped. Hailing from Los Angeles this band is the real deal. Formed by former Hole drummer Patty Schemel and her brother Larry Schemel and singer Bonnie Bloomgarden they released two albums ‘Street Venom’ (2014) and the most recent ‘Glow In The Dark’ in (2016). Patty left the group in shortly after the first album. Death Valley Girls played six songs including the song ‘Disco’ which is one of our favorites off ‘Glow In The Dark’. They commanded the stage and took the crowd on a fun-filled set of kick-ass tunes that left the crowd riled up before heading off. If you get a chance to see the Death Valley Girls we highly recommend it. Hoping to see them again in the very near future. I love my new “Satan Worships The Death Valley Girls” t-shirt and the ‘Glow In The Dark’ LP we bought at the show we can’t stop playing the album. Make sure to give them a like on Facebook.
Death Valley Boogie
When L7 announced they were getting the band back together for a few shows back in 2015 we almost lost our collective shit! Being hardcore L7 fans since around 1990 it was the best news a fan could get. Shortly after their announcement, we got to see them in Toronto and they exceeded all expectations, it was a magical night, to say the least. Since then L7 released the critically acclaimed documentary ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ in 2017, and also recorded two new singles, ‘Dispatch At Mar-A-Lago’ and “I Came Back To Bitch’.
Donita Sparks vocals and guitar and Suzi Gardner vocals and guitar formed L7 in Los Angeles in 1985 and after the addition of Jennifer Finch on bass and Dee Plakas on drums, they became an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. They didn’t want to be labeled a “girl” band. They rocked just as hard and better than most bands of the day. They helped usher in the grunge era with their own unique brand of punk, metal, and straight up rock n roll. They had catchy hooks and a guitar-heavy sound that caught on fast. L7 was known for crazy high energy live performances and now over 30 years after forming they still play with the same high energy they did back in the day. They still rock harder than most bands in their 20’s!
We remained front and center as L7 hit the stage. They got right into it with the songs with Donita belting out ‘Deathwish’ next up was ‘Monster’ then they rolled into ‘Everglade’. They sounded great! The crowd was going nuts for their entire set. It was great to see a great mix of older fans and younger fans singing word for word every song. It was amazing to be a part of this special night, surrounded by like-minded people who love L7. There was a great energy from this Sunday night sold out show. Suzi Gardner sounded great on the fan favorite ‘Andres’ before going into the tunes ‘Scrap’ and ‘Fuel My Fire’. Jennifer Finch took the mike for the next song ‘One More Thing’. One of our favorites were the songs ‘Off The Wagon’ and ‘Slide’. ‘Crackpot Baby’ from the album Slap-Happy comes next and is the only song they play from the 1999 album, their last studio effort. This is followed by ‘Must Have More’ and ‘Drama’ from ‘The Beauty Process’, which on a side note, the documentary filmed by Krist Novaselic of Nirvana also called ‘The Beauty Process’, had some of the live footage shot right here in our hometown of Buffalo, NY back 1997 which (Pam) was in attendance. You can check out the long out of print mockumentary ‘The Beauty Process’ on the L7 ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ Documentary DVD as a bonus feature. We bought our copy from Amazon.
Next up is the first of the two new songs they played on the night, with Donita explaining that if you wanted to know why L7 was back at this time, well “They Came Back To Bitch”. This is one kick-ass tune, followed by ‘Shove’ which had the Cleveland crowd going crazy. ‘Dispatch From Mar-A-Lago’, the second new song fitting for the times we currently live in. They played ‘Shirley’ and then you come to the L7 anthem ‘Shitlist’ before the band heads off stage for a brief moment, before returning for the encore. A cover of the Agent Orange song ‘Bloodstains’ starts off the encore, which is promptly followed by ‘Pretend We’re Dead’, which is when the only glitch to this fantastic show comes. A faulty guitar pedal kicks out Donita’s guitar just as she starts the solo at the beginning of the song. It took the techs a few minutes to get it going again, but Suzi, Jennifer, and Dee kept it going while Donita did a little dance and said she did this purposely to give the crowd the extended mix of the tune. They finish off the night with our favorite L7 tune ‘Fast And Frightening’, which has the best line of any song ever “She’s got so much clit, she don’t need no balls”, before heading off stage. The played a hell of a show. L7 is back! Make sure not to miss these ladies when they come through your town. They will be in Europe and then back to North America this summer. We couldn’t leave without buying a bunch of cool merch. They had a very limited signed tour poster we purchased and we love the new L7 zip-up hoodies.
L7’s current North American tour ends on April 21st, they head overseas for a while in June and have a few dates back in the states at the end of July. They also have another date at The Danforth in Toronto, which may be time for another road trip up north. You can never see L7 too many times. Again if they’re anywhere near you, check them out, the show is amazing. They currently have a Pledgemusic campaign going so they can record a new album. They have many different cool items up for sale for the pledge, check out the link below. They’re currently around 80% of the goal. Let’s help get them to 100% so we can have a new L7 album, the first since 1999!
Fuel My Fire
One More Thing
Off The Wagon
Must Have More
I Came Back To Bitch
Dispatch From Maralago
Pretend We’re Dead
Fast & Frightening