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Le Tigre Chris Almeida

Le Tigre triumphs over time and remains as fun, welcoming and progressive as always

04 June 2023, 00:00

Kathleen Hannah’s electro post-punk project Le Tigre hasn't released a record since 2004 but that matters little to people who are her to see them at a sold-out London’s Troxy.

A diverse audience – young, queer, punk, older, female and gently male too – bridge this gap, and people are as happy to see the band again as if it was the first time.

Hannah – OG Riot Grrrl and Bikini Kill leader – is reunited with Johanna Fateman, and JD Samson, and she isn't hiding the thrill: "I’m fucking nervous, this is the third gig of the tour," she comments as the show kicks off. Hannah has carved out a candid space to talk about her emotions, feminism, gender, and politics in music. Once the nerves subside, the show unfolds in a familiar, intimate, still exciting and progressive atmosphere – it's a testament to safe space in music, and a fun party to be.

Each song is coupled with a confessional interlude; Hannah opens up about her struggles with PTSD and the value of getting help at age 54; why if *NSYNC have choreographs and costumes Le Tigre couldn’t have it too; and, about people who didn’t treat her well and took her out of her path in the past: “Maybe I let them, but it’s also their responsibility to not be assholes in the first place.”

Lyrics are colourfully projected behind the band throughout the whole gig, and while it lends a karaoke quality to the night, it also makes it impossible to miss the relevance and strength of Hannah's songs. Le Tigre's themes are as piercing now as they were nearly two decades ago. They play "Hot Topic", and sing ‘Sleater-Kinney’ in the pantheon of names being honoured – and everyone applauds: it’s a subtle and sweet moment.

Inevitably, the whole night is a build up to "Deceptacon". It remains the best song the band ever wrote and arguably also one of the most powerful feminist statements in music. The on-screen lyrics make no difference at that point: anthemic; the song is the apotheosis of everything that has been sung before. Even time hasn't managed to de-politicize Hannah’s rhymes.

The song ends with her jumping up and down, while skipping rope, while we wave goodbye, hoping and singing 'see you later.'

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