Janky Smooth

L7 Stop Pretending They Are Dead at The Echo

By Danny Baraz

On Thursday May 28th, L7 played a show for the first time in 18 years. This brought up a lot of feelings and emotion for me. I’ve seen L7 play more shows than any other band. I would not be easily swayed by the power of this moment because at their peak, they were one of the most ferocious live bands in the world. While a caricature of the past could have the power to entertain, what I wanted to see was the raw, authentic and over amplified band of bad ass chicks that were so incredible that being women was hardly a part of my internal narrative about what impressed me about them. THAT was what I wanted to see and I wouldn’t give them a pass on this “warm up show” simply because L7 were ready to relive their glory days and collect a paycheck.

The Echo, a venue that didn’t even exist the last time all four original members of L7 played a show, was more packed than I had ever seen it. As soon as I saw the skeleton hands forming the L and the 7 on the backdrop of the stage, shit became very real. Brody Dalle stormed the stage to introduce the band. “Are you ready to have your tits and dicks melted off!!??” It was a rhetorical question, of course. Donita, Jennifer, Suzi and Dee took the stage and all four of them were smiling from ear to ear.


Over the next two hours, L7 drove down the street known as memory lane like a renegade biker gang. All the familiar sonic streets they paved so long ago survived the gentrification of music and they launched off of the early speed bumps that were placed in their way by the sound guy. By the time they broke into the third song of the set, “Everglade”, they were fully dialed in and it wasn’t long before this became the loudest fucking show I have heard in a long time. L7 were not a band that were going through the motions. The magnitude of the moment was not lost on them. It’s hard to imagine them being any more grateful to be in that moment in time and it became a common sentiment throughout the set for someone in the band to let the audience know that they loved us just as much as we loved them.

L7_the_echo_1Jennifer Finch seemed like she might shoot through roof of The Echo at any moment. There was not one moment that she wasn’t either head banging her bright red hair, making obscene gestures at the crowd or sharing some type of hilarious anecdote or unfiltered thought. She paused for a moment and her phone appeared from somewhere and she captured an image that she promised would be used for her Tinder profile. Conversely, Suzi Gardner would lay back in the cut shredding her guitar, cool as ice. When the songs she sings were played, she delivered them with the smooth, quiet confidence that is her trademark. In between the two, Donita Sparks would command the stage with ferocity in her vocals and a beam of humility that shined so bright that it was blinding. Dee Plakas continues to be the hard hitting anchor of the band and one of the best female rock drummers of all time. It’s a shame the word female is still being used as some sort of qualifier but hey, not recognizing the way the world is does not do much for progress or intellectual honesty.

There wasn’t much movement in the audience for most of the evening. Towards the end of the main, pre encore part of the set the band started playing “Shove” and I took my queue. I just couldn’t stand still any longer. I’m pretty sure I became “that guy” but I really didn’t give a fuck and eventually, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have any fucks to give.


I’ve seen L7 play some strange and unique shows over the past few decades. I’ve seen them play the Federal Building Lawn in Westwood as part of a Hemp Fest, well before you could get a license to smoke weed in California. I’ve seen them play the auditorium at Fairfax High. I was witness to the very first Rock the Choice benefit at the Palace with Nirvana. I was 15 years old. Thursday night at The Echo ranks up there with all those shows because after all this time, all that has happened, L7’s love for what they do remains more real and tangible than the time that has passed between those gigs.

Set List
Fuel My Fire
Diet Pill
Right on Thru
Freak Magnet
One More Thing
I Need
Mr. Integrity
Shit List
American Society
Pretend We’re Dead
Fast and Frightening

Now that the L7 are “warmed up”.  They are heading out to Europe for almost all of June with a couple more dates in L.A. at The Fonda in July.  Now that they have had a taste, I would not be surprised if they just keep booking dates and came to your town soon.  Here is the tour, so far:

USA  2015
28 MAY 2015 – USA – Los Angeles – The Echo – SOLD OUT (Thank You L.A!)
16 JUL7 2015 – USA – Los Angeles – The Fonda – TICKETS
17 JUL7 2015 – USA – Los Angeles – The Fonda – TICKETS
6 SEPT 2015 – USA – TORONTO – The Danforth Music Hall – TICKETS (On Sale Friday May 29 at 12:00 PM EDT)
8 SEPT 2015 – USA – New York City – Irving Plaza – SOLD OUT (Thank You NYC!)
9 SEPT 2015 – USA – Brooklyn, NY. – Warsaw –  TICKETS
11 SEPT 2015 – USA – Philadelphia – Trocadero Theater – TICKETS (On Sale Friday May 29 at 12:00 PM EDT)
6 June 2015 – GERMANY – Vulkaneifel – Rock am Ring | TICKETS
7 June 2015 – GERMANY – Nuremburg – Rock im Park | TICKETS
8 June 2015 – GERMANY – Berlin – Zitadelle (Supporting Slash) | TICKETS
11 June 2015 – CZECH REPUBLIC – Prague – Lucerna Music Bar | TICKETS
13 June 2015 – AUSTRIA – Nickelsdorf – Novarock Festival | TICKETS
14 June 2015 – U.K – Donnington – Download Festival | TICKETS
15 June 2015 – U.K.- Glasgow – Garage | TICKETS
16 June 2015 – U.K. – London – Electric Ballroom- SOLD OUT (Thank you London!)
17 June 2015 – FRANCE – Paris – Bataclan | TICKETS
19 June 2015 – SPAIN – Vitoria – Azkena Festival | TICKETS
20 June 2015 – FRANCE – Clisson – Hellfest Festival | TICKETS




  1. Dan Lafferty

    May 31, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Great story!
    When I lived near Philadelphia, I’d gone to see them perform three times. But seeing them perform, at The Echo, for the first time since I last saw them ranks as one of the top 2or 3 concerts of all-time, and this was only their warm-up! Also, seeing the original lineup was my first as well. As I stood up at the front next to Jennifer Finch, this band showed that no matter how old you are, L7’s music has lived on for such a long period of time and so many hardcore L7 fans turned out to this unique and intimate event because their music still had a pulse.
    I can’t wait to see them both nights at The Fonda in July.


  2. CH

    May 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Nice POV on the Echo show, which was nothing short of epic. There was a LOT of movement up front – I assumed the rest of the club was following along. And the ladies were incredible. So much energy, and tight for first play in 18 years. Danny I too saw them at Fairfax, with Love Battery… and 7 year bitch I think. (That was the loudest show I ever experienced. ) But L7 is probably my most-seen act of all time (besides Jane’s Addiction, of course) so I’ve probably stood right next to you at some point! It’s good to have L7 back.

    • Danny Baraz

      May 31, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      That’s right. Love Battery and 7 Year Bitch. Great call dude. What a show that was. I did see a few people mixing it up at the VERY front of the stage on Thursday night but it was pretty well contained. Thanks for sharing your experience man.

  3. Wes Cota Dodge

    June 1, 2015 at 9:51 am

    I was there. My face was melted off. There’s nothing else I can do to describe the monstrosity that was the show. I second every single thing that Dan Lafferty said above… I was probably standing right next to him because I was in the front between Finch and Sparks. In fact, when Jennifer slipped down the monitor, she hit me in the head ever-so-gently with the headstock of her bass. I am still going apeshit over this show. And I can say after seeing L7 5 times in the late 90s with Gail and Janis on bass, this was absolutely no comparison. This was hands down the best rock show I have ever seen, ever, including the first time I got to see L7 as a teenager. The crowd was electric, the band was electric, I almost started crying with Dee (I told her how much we as fans love them and how much they mean to us, and she said the same thing about the fans, and we both got misty – it was a moment…).

    If they’re just getting warmed up, I don’t know what else to be prepared for!!!!

  4. FU

    June 2, 2015 at 3:45 am

    It’s obviously only about money now, it’s just fucking showbiz. It’s sad.

    • Danny Baraz

      June 2, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Who gives a shit as long as they give the fans their moneys worth???? You can’t fake that no matter what your primary motivation is.

      • FU

        June 11, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Maybe you are right, maybe I am wrong, maybe it’s not that important.

        • Danny Baraz

          June 11, 2015 at 1:07 pm

          Well, importance is prioritized by the individual. For me, the most important thing is to see the love of playing and passion exuding from the artist. If you’re all about a paycheck, that will come across and all I’m saying is that they were rocking the fuck out… not just going through the motions!

          • FU

            June 12, 2015 at 7:36 am


          • FU

            July 7, 2015 at 1:09 pm

            …the choice about the dates in Europe was just insane, not even 1 new song, very short gigs…
            You see? All this don’t smell very good eh?
            But I know…we all need money.
            I hope they will be inspired for new material and they probably need a real management.
            They was great in the 90’s : great songs, no compromise etc but now, it’s sad. And I am not the only one to see/feel it like this.
            I am not mean, I couldn’t put that on their site or fb and I know nobody care about what I am thinking about this but I just wanted to share.

  5. Jerry Stevens

    July 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Too bad they are homophobes.

  6. Chris

    November 22, 2016 at 2:20 am

    This question for Danny Baraz:
    My wife saw them on the federal building lawn in Westwood but can’t remember the date or who else played.
    Do you remember??

    • Danny Baraz

      November 25, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Chris! I was just talking about this with someone. It was a Hemp Fest that they used to do there annually. I can’t remember who else played but they wrote an impromptu song for the event called “Save a Tree, Eat a Beaver” and everytime I see those girls I crack them up by reminding them of that song.

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