Copenhell - 2018

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

For our first band of Copenhell 2018, we ran into the American punkrock quartet L7.
This is one of those bands, where I’ve seen the name floating round for ages, but I’ve never been in personal contact with their music. Or so I thought, because it turns out I have seen them - in the John Waters ‘94 film Serial Mom, where the band plays under the moniker Camel Lips.
Not quite enough for me to remember them though, so I’ll classify this as a brand new meeting.

“Grab your pussies and strap your balls to your legs, ‘cause they’re about to be blown way off!”
- Donita Sparks (vocals/guitar)

All I did know about L7 going in, was that it was an all female band (judging from their band photo), so it was a bit of a surprise to see a man behind the drums - JoDee Locks, haven’t been able to find any further info on him, I’m afraid. Oh well, he was wearing a pink t-shirt, so I guess all was good. Besides, it turned out he was only a stand-in for Demetra Plakas, as she was at home with a broken arm.
Also at home, possibly together with Plakas, was L7’s backdrop, so drummer Locks had helped out here as well, quickly painting the band’s circle logo on a sheet of green tarpaulin - I must admit, when I first saw it, I thought it was an extremely cool, lo-fi approach to the whole backdrop thing, but it turned out just to be a last minute save. Maybe they should keep it as a permanent thing though?

Anyway, we’re getting off topic.
The front of the stage was peopled with all original members of the band. Sparks shared main vocal duties and guitar playing with Suzi Gardner, and Jennifer Finch was on the bass, and some vocal duties as well. All of them were effervescent with energy and humour - so much humour! Practically between every song, one or more band members would joke and have a laugh together with the audience, and it created a very pleasant and inviting atmosphere.
Musically, I wasn’t all aboard at first, but the simple yet energetic riffs were contagious, and had me gladly nodding my head along soon enough. Of course, I didn’t know any of the material beforehand, but the songs were easy to get into, and the band was kind enough to introduce most of them to us, as well as providing a little bit of backstory on some, like Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago, a Trump owned resort in Florida.

“I don’t think you’ve had enough adult beverages yet!”
- Suzi Gardner (vocals/guitar)

This Wednesday was in reality not a full-on festival day, but a one-day warm-up party, with only a limited access to the festival area. Even so, there were quite a lot of festival goers out and about already, and it seemed all of them were present at this gig.
It wasn’t a rowdy audience, not yet, but cheering was loud between songs, and most had they’re almost undivided attention directed at the stage - there was beer as well, you know.
The reason for this, to my mind, can be attributed to the fact that L7 truly were putting on quite a show, and clearly cared about the performing part of it. I’ve already mentioned the fun and games between songs, but also during the songs, the level of energy was kept high. Even here, a few jokes snuck in, and at one point Finch was rolling around on her back even!

Honestly, L7 was just the band for opening this party up for us. They were light in tone, but not without substance. A serious message wrapped in an envelope of party spirit. I fell for them, and I can’t ask for more than that.

Setlist (incomplete):

Fuel My Fire
One More Thing
I Came Back To Bitch
Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago

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