with The Butchies and V For Vendetta
The Social, Orlando, FL • February 26, 2002
Bettie Lou Vegas
Thanks to the ridiculously early time slot for this show (six o’clock for a nationally-touring band with a large cult following? On a weekday?!) and despite nearly breaking all the speed limits during the one and a half-hour drive from Melbourne to Orlando, we missed both V For Vendetta and The Butchies, and only made it in three minutes before headliners Le Tigre ascended the stage. The Social was absolutely packed despite the remodeling and construction going on inside (stripping away the last vestiges of what used to be The Sapphire Supper Club); my photographer and I had to squish all the way to the right side of the tiny stage. I actually ended up sitting on the side of the stage with some others, which afforded me a great view of the band and was a very nice way to see the shows despite the near-claustrophobic press of bodies around me.
Le Tigre — Kathleen Hanna, Johanna Fateman, and new member JD Samson — took to the stage wearing bathrobes; after a brief tuning of the lone guitar, they disrobed to reveal the matching cheerleader-esque outfits they had on underneath. A large screen hung behind them and displayed everything from clips from The Breakfast Club and Weird Science to footage of a women’s martial arts self-defense class and an all-female break-dance troupe to home-made videos from the band. It even served as a karaoke screen during “FYR,” sans bouncing yellow ball.
Most of the set consisted of material from their new CD, Feminist Sweepstakes; launching with the “LT Tour Theme” and continuing with “Well Well Well,” “Keep on Livin’,” and “Much Finer.” We were treated to a Johanna-remixed version of “On Guard,” as well as tracks from their first self-titled release, rousing versions of “What’s Yr Take on Cassavetes,” “Hot Topic,” “My My Metrocard,” and the sweet and simple “Les And Ray.”
Each song was met with much enthusiasm and cheers from the crowd, who sang, clapped, and danced along. Kathleen apologized for the cancelled Tampa show, called off due to a nasty bug she caught. “I just started my antibiotics today. Please don’t hug me,” she half-jokingly requested of the crowd. Despite being ill, Kathleen and the rest of Le Tigre danced with perky abandon, all three members doing time behind the microphones and keyboards/synthesizers, with Johanna and Kathleen trading stints on the guitar.
After a criminally-brief one-hour set, the boisterous crowd roared for more, bringing Le Tigre back to the stage for a single-song encore. As the band launched into a riotous version of “Deceptacon,” the stage was mobbed by giddy, dancing fans that didn’t seem to mind the threat of Kathleen Hanna-germs. My only wish is that they had more time to play, even just 15 minutes more. Still, the hour and a half drive was worth it.