REVIEW: THE JULIE RUIN FEATURING KATHLEEN HANNA AT ASBURY LANES

Feminist artist Kathleen Hanna’s band The Julie Ruin played to a sold out crowd at the Asbury Lanes last Saturday night (4/12/14). Along with Hanna was former Bikini Kill bandmate Kathi Wilcox on bass, Sara Landeau on guitar, Kenny Melman on keyboard and Carmine Covelli on drums. It was clear to see that fans had been long anticipating Hanna’s return after a seven year hiatus.

In 1990 Hanna was front woman of the band Bikini Kill who were well known for shunning major labels and collaborating with acts such as Nirvana and Joan Jett. When they broke up in 1997 Hanna went on to perform solo under the name Julie Ruin. In 2003 she formed the dance-punk trio Le Tigre. After a long break and recovering from Lyme disease she formed The Julie Ruin. In September of 2013 they released their debut album Run Fast. Their music is a mix of pop, punk and synth which showcases Hanna’s thought provoking lyrics.

The mood was full of nostalgia for some; amazement for others seeing her perform for the first time. Taking the stage wearing only a denim unitard and tights, she jokingly explained it was a spontaneous Ebay purchase. She is adorable yet commanding and immediately had us hooked.

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Opening with the song VGI, the band tore through a fifteen song set including the Bikini Kill song, This is Not A Test. It was like watching five friends think out loud in stereo. It is hard to believe Hanna has been doing this for twenty years. There is something still so new and fresh about the way she performs.

After flawlessly playing Just My Kind, she shared that she was excited to be going home after the show to see her husband, Adam Horovitz, of the Beastie Boys. The couple own a house in New Jersey.

Toward the end of the show, Hanna held up a local Asbury Park zine called the Feminist Collective and encouraged everyone to support them and their efforts. She spoke briefly about the importance of equal rights and the struggle that continues today.

The band graced us with an encore performance of Run Fast. A perfect ending to a perfect night. The band is touring Europe in May. Upon their return, Hanna will be a guest curator at Sled Island, an arts and music festival held in Canada beginning June 18th.

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