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The Julie Ruin frontwoman Kathleen Hanna was full of stories—some good, some bad—at the sold out Black Cat show on Friday night. And some, like the story of her sexual assault before “Be Nice,” seemed to physically and emotionally drain her. “I wanna be nice, that’s something that’s been taken from us,” she said. Such frank talk isn’t the norm during a rock show, but she meant it. “I always look beautiful but that’s what’s not important,” she said to a guy who kept yelling “you’re beautiful” from the audience, one she called security on because of his repeated interruptions.
It wasn’t all dour though. The audience heard some funny stories about friends and places they’d hang out when she lived here in the ’90s with bassist Kathy Wilcox, the reason for her spangly stage outfit (“I just wish in gym class this was the uniform”), and why she went to church alone as a kid (“I was Lutheran which was boring. I went to church because I needed somewhere to dress up. My parents wouldn’t even go”).
“We’re all nerds in this together,” said Hanna at one point. And that’s kind of the crux of why Hanna and The Julie Ruin are so beloved, they’re brutally honest yet still sensitive enough to pierce the heart, never preachy but call out the reality that many woman have to endure. The Julie Ruin speaks truth.
The screamy take on Kraftwerk that is Olivia Neutron-John and the stripped-down bass-and-drum post-punk minimalism of Sneaks opened.
More photos from all sets can be seen here.