"On the Verge": Le Tigre at the Paramount Theater (7/6)
Back in October of 2020, I watched Kerthy Fix’s 2010 documentary Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour, and in my COVID angst and boredom, I thoughtfully declared via my letterboxd review that “I would literally sell my left femur to see Le Tigre live.” Well, surprise to 2020 me, guess who didn’t have to sell a limb to see Le Tigre live? Black market limb-selling or no, I can say with certainty that seeing Le Tigre live at Seattle’s Paramount Theater on July 6th was much more than just a concert–it was an experience. Right off the bat, the concert and its audience exuded an unapologetic, confident, and welcoming energy. The outfits–ranging from office wear to the emo-punk Seattleite uniform of dyed hair, chokers, and Demonias–the vibes, and the overall spirit of the audience were off the charts, emblematic of a level of self confidence and expression that Le Tigre are representative of. The energy was abuzz as the audience patiently waited to see Le Tigre after a nearly two-decade long hiatus.
The opener was Who Is She?, a Seattle-based supergroup made up of Lisa Prank’s Robin Edwards, Bree Mckenna and Emily Nokes of Tacocat, and Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt. Who Is She, who made headlines back in January of this year after they were removed as the “house band” for the Seattle Kraken after performing their song “My My Orca Card,” a Seattle version of Le Tigre’s 1999 track “My My Metrocard,” which directly disses Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Despite the “Orca Card” controversy, Who Is She? explained during their set that they believe it is actually their song “Anne Hathaway,” off of their upcoming album Goddess Energy, about all the people who decided in the mid-aughts to absolutely loathe Anne Hathaway, which might be their most controversial. While the crowd wasn’t nearly as hyped for Who Is She? as they were for Le Tigre, their quippy, twee pop-adjacent sound, reminiscent of groups like Bratmobile or Heavenly, worked as a great opener and did build a consistent excitement for the show to come.
From the minute Le Tigre took the stage, opening with their song “The The Empty,” the trio’s energy was unbeatable. Complete with crafty animations, synchronized choreography, and their endless DIY-punk spirit, Kathleen Hanna, JD Samson, and Johanna Fateman paraded around the stage with their setlist stacked with songs from across their discography. Despite having not toured together for nearly 20 years, the trio still brings their hard-hitting punk energy to every performance. Their energy was infectious, and no songs demonstrated that quite like “Viz,” and the show’s finale, “Deceptacon.” Both songs came after a mid-set outfit change, marked by a dystopian fracking-inspired animation for their 2001 song, “Get Off The Internet.” While the whole show was high-energy, the vibe after the outfit change was off the charts, beginning with JD Samson’s powerhouse performance of “Viz,” which initiated after they proudly proclaimed they were “happy to be here with all of you, taking up space.” “Deceptacon” rounded out the show as the final song of their encore, and to say the whole crowd lost it is an understatement. Easily their most popular song, cheers exploded from the crowd as the band emphatically performed choreography reminiscent of the interpretive dances my friends and I would come up with at sleepovers as a kid. It was playful, welcoming, and unapologetically self-expressive–couldn’t have been a better experience.
Overall, the show felt very full circle for me, and I am so grateful to have not had to part with my left femur in order to witness it. When I asked my friend Grace, who had tagged along with me, what she thought of the whole evening, she said that she “wish[ed she] had more describing words,” saying she was “truly speechless… wow.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you want to have a good time, I highly recommend checking Le Tigre out at one of their few remaining shows–you won’t be disappointed.