The Linda Lindas wrapped up their run in NYC opening for Jawbreaker (see pics from night one) with their own headline gig on the afternoon of Sunday 5/1. I loved them when I saw them open for Jawbreaker, and was very excited to see that they were doing their own headline gig in New York before they went back home, but this was unfortunately a show I was going to have to miss because I had to work—sometimes being an adult is full of disappointment and missing out shows you’d really rather be at!
But then at the very last minute luck intervened and my boss called me to tell me my shift was cancelled right as I was about to head out the door, which meant I was instead free to head over to Mercury Lounge to enjoy the show, and I would still be getting paid for the day for the inconvenience/last minute notice. Punk rock for the double win! With support from one of my favorite local bands, Ratas En Zelo, I knew I had absolutely gotten a very good stroke of luck to get to be there.
The show featured an audience of all ages—from very young fans with their parents to members of Brooklyn punk bands to seasoned show veterans like me—and kicked off promptly at 5:30 with an already packed room ready to rock out. Ratas En Zelo played a set of bouncy accordion fueled punk and kept the crowd moving for their entire set. Their music is fun and infectious, with lyrics that are 99% sung in Spanish and pack a political punch; it was the perfect primer for The Linda Lindas. I’ve seen them several times over the last few years, but not since before the pandemic, so it was wonderful getting to catch up on what they’ve been doing.
Ratas En Zelo
The Linda Lindas started their set at 6:30, arriving on stage in outfits that were hand customized by guitarist Bela Salazar, as the X-Ray Spex classic “Germfree Adolescence” played over the sound system for their entrance music. The crowd cheered to greet them and several of the youngest spectators had made their way up front on the edge of the stage, with the band saying “kids to the front!” (as a play on the Bikini Kill classic phrase “girls to the front!”) to make sure any stragglers could get up front if they wanted to. With everyone situated and ready to go, the band launched into a 17 song set of pop punk/riot grrrl inspired tunes that started off with a cover of The Blue Hearts “Linda Linda,” the song that the band got their name from.
From there they played all of the songs on their debut album, Growing Up, as well as the four songs from their 2020 self titled EP, a cover of The Go Go’s “Tonite,” and the single “Claudia Kishi.” This being their own headline gig meant they could play a longer set than what they did during the Jawbreaker shows (11 songs per night), much to the delight of the fans who joyously bopped and danced, singing along to every song. They again concluded the set with their viral hit, “Racist, Sexist Boy,” which met with the most cheers of the evening. Afterwards they took selfies with the crowd from stage before jumping to the floor and mingling for more pictures and autographs.
Their wonderfully endearing, youthful stage banter was in full effect as well, asking the audience about school, lamenting about homework before “Magic” “is time even real? If I turn in homework a week late does it even matter?” and talking about how excited they were to be in New York. They also spoke about their cats several times throughout, with Bela saying her cats were “sad they can’t be here but they send their warm regards” before going on to thank Ratas En Zelo for playing and saying there was “no bad blood between the rats and the cats.”
The Linda Lindas
Concluding their shows here, they filmed an episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Monday and will return to LA on Tuesday—just in time to be back to school on Wednesday—because after all, high school waits for no one, not even four emerging rock stars. The band will finish their school year before heading out for several summer and fall dates that have been announced, including opening dates for Japanese Breakfast as well as festivals like Newport Folk and When We Were Young. They will next return to the East Coast for a show in Philadelphia on 7/21 at The Foundry, and then to NYC in October to open for Yeah Yeah Yeahs on 10/1 at Forest Hills Stadium.
I’m glad luck intervened so I could be at this show, the exuberant and youthful blast of fun and good vibes was exactly what I needed to remind me why I’m still going to shows and playing in bands myself after so many years. Indeed, we are all lucky to witness this talented young group on their rise.
The Linda Lindas setlist: Linda Linda (Blue Hearts cover), Claudia Kishi, Monica, Magic, Fine, Never Say Never, No Clue, Missing You, Talking To Myself, Remember, Nino, Why, Cuántas Veces, Growing Up, Tonite (Go Go’s cover), Oh!, Racist Sexist Boy
Scroll down for more pics of the shows (photos by Kate Hoos)
RATAS EN ZELO
THE LINDA LINDAS