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L7; Ethyl Meatplow

The world seems to be spinning out of control on a grungy axis. That's the conclusion a concertgoer might reach about the scene on the lower rungs of the rock scene in 1992. Since Nirvana kicked open the door, the music business has been flooded with noisy combos, the best of which is L.A.'s L7. The Slash recording artists are in the middle of a yearlong tour to promote its major-label debut, "Bricks Are Heavy."

The world seems to be spinning out of control on a grungy axis. That’s the conclusion a concertgoer might reach about the scene on the lower rungs of the rock scene in 1992. Since Nirvana kicked open the door, the music business has been flooded with noisy combos, the best of which is L.A.’s L7. The Slash recording artists are in the middle of a yearlong tour to promote its major-label debut, “Bricks Are Heavy.”

An all-female quartet with long roots in the seedy Hollywood underground, L7 has built a huge underground following all over the world from non-stop club tours.

Unlike the typical “girl band,” which is usually cute and cuddly (see the Bangles or Go-Go’s), L7 is fast, furious and unapologetically raw.

Songs, for the most part, are based on one or two variations of the “Peter Gunn Theme” riff, delivered at a Ramones-like clip.

Punched out by drummer Dee Plakus’ picture-perfect punk pounding and bassist Jennifer Finch’s slam-style bass playing, the band is feral and mean, although a little more melody (a la Nirvana) wouldn’t hurt.

L7’s lyrics are set to a monotonous drone that parallels the root notes far too often,like a hard-core or garage metal band. The group also had a bit of trouble with their slower songs, particularly the single “Pretend We’re Dead,” which they uncomfortably sped up.

They’re great performers, however, and funny as hell to boot. Singer Donita Sparks commented on her group’s downscale appearance, calling them the “Miss Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Rejects,” and then asked the capacity crowd if they wanted to hear any Tesla songs.

The circumstances of the gig were constrained by an early curfew as the Palace features disco nights later on Fridays, so L7 had to tear through the set as fast as they could.

Openers Ethyl Meatplow were the subject of a recent bidding war for their services before allegedly signing with Geffen (although the company could not confirm that when asked). The industrial dance act has just come off the road in support of Geffen artists Nitzer Ebb but still doesn’t seem at home on the large stage. Time will tell.

L7; Ethyl Meatplow

(The Palace; 1,200 capacity; $ 12)

  • Production: Produced by GoldenVoice. L7: Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, Jennifer Finch, Dee Plakus. Reviewed May 22, 1992.
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