With the punk re-revolution in full swing, it was only a matter of time before bands started staking out their own territory. Still telling zit jokes at 35? Then you're a Green Day type. Like your bile with a literate edge? Then you're probably getting acquainted with Bad Religion. Following this lead, it's easy to toss L7 under the "girl punk group" rubric.
That would be wrong, since L7 is as capable as anyone, male or female, of stir-frying your brain. But despite the smarmy cool of this year's Hungry for Stink , folks are always judging this California outfit's music (or its very existence) by its value as a statement, as if that were its primary appeal and value.
This mode of thinking is not new, nor is it confined to female artists. Gangsta rap skated along on the "rage of the inner city" hype until someone discovered that only a fraction of the artists had anything worthwhile to say. And the rock critic tendency to recast schtick as social statement has gotten lots of ink for mediocre acts across the gamut.
That doesn't make the whole thing any less irksome to L7.
"To create genre out of gender is horrible to me," said bassist Jennifer Finch in Rolling Stone. "I think journalism perpetuates that. Hopefully the angles for L7 will be the same as for Nirvana or Cracker."
"It's hard to carry the baggage of a political agenda when all I wanted to do was go on the road, do some drugs, play some rock, have some sex and maintain the lifestyle and luxuries that I saw my heroes have because they made music," Finch said in a separate interview for BAM.
So what does L7 sound like? Well, imagine someone sharpening a straight razor on a bear's tongue. They are loud, abrasive and funny, with tightly structured songs that are equal parts fuzz chords and out-and-out screech. Check them out tonight at Jannus Landing, where they are sympathetically paired with the Melvins and Wool. And remember: Feedback is gender neutral.
L7, Wool and the Melvins will play tonight at Jannus Landing at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14.
LARNELLE HARRIS _ The five-time Grammy- and 10-time Dove Award-winner will bring his inspirational tones to the St. Paul United Methodist Church in Largo tonight at 7:30. Tickets are $8, are available at Uncle Al's United In Spirit in Pinellas Park, Charis Bookstore at the First Baptist of Indian Rocks, and Haynes Better Books in Palm Harbor. Contact St. Paul United Methodist at 584-8165.
FURTHERMORE . . . The Gulfport Casino will host the release party for the Silver King Rhythm Band's Blues Shuck and Jive tonight. The group (Rock Bottom, Flo Mingo and St. Petey Twigg) will perform following the Bohemian Swingers. Show starts at 8 p.m. and admission is $6 at the door (no advance)Also, check out Merl Saunders and the Rain Forest Band with Mango Jam tonight at 7:30 at Skipper's Smokehouse. Tickets are $10.