Growled Lang Syne
DONITA SPARKS at Spaceland, December 31Executing one of the most perfectly timed entrances in rock-show history, ex-L7 tigress Donita Sparks, resplendent in chrome bullet belt and freshly peroxided shag cut, took to the stage with literally 15 seconds till midnight as her band and a good-size audience complimentary flutes of Asti Spumante in hand counted off the remaining ticks of 2005.As a rule, shanty-Irish standards like Auld Lang Syne should be played only at Dropkick Murphys shows, but Sparks gimlet-eyed grunginess tempered the openers sentimentality. The ensuing material, all new stuff except for the L7 classic Deathwish, was a potent reminder that L7 was largely Sparks band: The metal-tinged minor-key riffage and sleepy growl are ingrained in her musical DNA. (Compare with ex-bandmate Jennifer Finchs new vehicle, the Shocker.)Thats not to say Sparks doesnt have some new tricks up her thrift-store sleeves. The cautionary tale Curtains for Cathy, a fusion of Edward Goreystyle dark comedy with grrrl-group politics, is sheer genius. Even when she was treating her vocals with cheesy-yet-cool vibrato effects, La Sparks was as castratingly fierce as ever.Sparks reticence save for an outburst about 2006 being the year we send the assholes in Washington packing stood in stark contrast to past stunts like extracting a tampon and chucking it at the audience (Reading Festival, 92). But its been a long year, with recording, TV and radio appearances and even some indie-film scoring. So after a quick encore, rocks baddest bitch went home to pretend she was dead.
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