The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection has seen many of the loveliest icons of ‘90s alternative youth recently… Most notably Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction and heroine of Garbage Shirley Manson… However, the return of Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and Kathi Wilcox in The Julie Ruin, who will be headlining Union Transfer on August 20th, is in many ways more exciting… While the excitement for Jane’s and Garbage largely revolved around the songs that saved our lives several decades ago, those coming out to see Kathleen and Kathi’s current band are eagerly anticipating renditions of songs found on Hit Reset, The Julie Ruin’s sophomore LP, which dropped just last month.
Hit Reset should (although it shouldn’t have to) solidify The Julie Ruin as a formidably badass punk rock unit, and not simply an excuse to get half of Bikini Kill back together to trot out for a tour. Completing the band are Kenny Mellman (of Kiki and Herb), Carmine Covelli, and Sara Landeau, who have remained at the core of the band since they first came together in 2010. The band’s debut, Run Fast, released in September of 2013 on Dischord Records, built on Kathleen’s back catalogue of ultra-sassy, abrasively uplifting, and ineffably danceable punk in Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and Julie Ruin (Kathleen’s first solo project which is slightly different from The Julie Ruin).
Hit Reset has Kathleen Hanna addressing and promptly dismissing herself from much of the baggage of her lifetime, from familial trauma, to unwillingly being crowned the spokesperson of ‘90s alt rock gender politics, and the role of an artist in the inherently contentious digitally interactive age. (Read more extensively about it in her recent chats with PAPER Magazine and Rookie.) While the sound is still true to form for Ms. Hanna, its content would seem to address everything from the most mature and personal perspective of her career (There’s such beauty in the attitudes of discontented youths, but often the most poignant cultural critiques come from those who have been dealing with the shit for more than a couple decades.)
And while The Julie Ruin’s debut Philthy show (and second show ever) at the very same Union Transfer in fall of 2013 left next to nothing to be desired – aside from possibly a slightly-more-than-half-capacity audience – this Saturday’s show will be the first time Kathleen and her longstanding crew will play the city since the release of Sini Anderson’s 2013 doc, The Punk Singer, chronicling her profoundly noteworthy story for [unfortunately] many the very first time, including the testimonies of esteemed friends, such as Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, and Carrie Brownstein… When The Julie Ruin played Pittsburgh in early 2014 a longtime friend, seeing Kathleen for the first-time, told me, “I’m uncomfortable. I’m starstruck for the first time in about a decade.” I’m guessing many 215-ers who missed out on The Julie Ruin’s first area appearance will feel the same way Saturday night…