The Julie Ruin Launch International Tour @ Flywheel, Easthampton, MA

Remember the days when you’d begin to sweat simply standing around waiting for a band to take the stage?  Remember the days when crossing the path of a giant industrial fan was the best ever reward for sticking it out up front, rubbing sweaty body parts with perfect strangers.  Generally I’d agree with you, sounds pretty unappealing all and all, but given the endless winter much of the country has endured it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

The sold-out show at Flywheel Arts in Easthampton, MA featured opening act Screaming Females who did more than “open” the evening but rather blew the doors off the place.  The New Brunswick, NJ trio, featuring front woman and guitar virtuoso Marissa Paternoster, wowed the crowd with their mix of art and punk rock, not to mention Marissa’s Mascis-esque guitar solos.  For the record, J was in attendance and standing up front to catch a glimpse of the 20 something phenom.

Of course the majority in attendance were eager to check out Kathleen Hanna’s latest iteration of Julie Ruin, The Julie Ruin.  Originally a solo endeavor started as a result of the demise of Bikini Kill in 1997, Julie Ruin was resurrected in 2010 as a 5-piece including Kathi Wilcox from their days together in Bikini Kill and new band mates Carmine Covelli on drums/vocals, Sara Landeau on guitar/vocals, and Kenny Mellman on keyboard/vocals.

The show was their first in a world tour that will bring them to a half dozen U.S. cities, a quick stop north of the border for a few shows, and then off to Europe until mid-August.  Although there were moments when the band sounded a little rusty, they were quick to smile and laugh as they recognized each other’s blunders with good humor.  Kathleen Hanna was in good spirits and playfully engaged the crowd throughout the show.  A little over half way through their set when she introduced Girls Like Us, a track off of their 2013 release “Run Fast”, she explained that the reason she now has a tendency to write more abstract lyrics is a result of her Lyme disease and the effect it has had on her “brain”.  Hanna shared this with the capacity crowd in a jovial lighthearted manner, but in retrospect it was a rather genuine and somewhat intimate moment.  Those that have followed her career (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Julie Ruin) know that she has had some rather serious health issues, but details were kept private until very recently.  Of course we are all thrilled she is feeling better and once again sharing her words, music, and undeniably strong point of view with her fans.

Setlist:

V.G.I.
Friendship Station
Lookout
Breakout a Town
Kids in NY
South Coast Plaza
Just My Kind
Radical or Pro-parental
Girls Like Us
Oh Come On
Goodnight Goodbye
This Is Not A Test
Eau d’Bedroom Dancing (Le Tigre cover)
Cookie Road
Encore:
Run Fast