Bikini Kill – Milwaukee, WI – 04.19.23

Is feminism dead? Is punk dead? Is riot grrrl a thing of the past? Not even close, and Bikini Kill is the living, breathing proof. 

Taking the stage at the gorgeous Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee on Tuesday, these women brought all the same energy as a lightning storm, and did not slow their roll for the entirety of their set. 

Starting off with the classic “New Radio,” these ladies got the crowd moving – and who wouldn’t want to be bouncing around while Kathleen Hanna yells “come here baby, let me kiss you like a boy does!” 

Kathleen Hanna belts into the microphone during Bikini Kill’s set at the Riverside Theatre.

Between Hanna yelling those infamous lyrics, Tobi Vail nailing every beat on the drums, and the chemistry between Kathi Wilcox and Erica Dawn Lyle on bass and rhythm guitar, the four were bound for a successful set… But it’s worth noting that they’re not only masters of their instruments, they also know their way around one another’s. A twenty-five song set is something worth noting no matter who’s performing it, but if you factor in each person playing multiple roles in the band throughout the night? Unmatched. 

Another defining trait that Bikini Kill has not retired since their initial formation is their ability to hold an incredible dialogue with their audience. “A lot of times in interviews, we get asked if our music is just preaching to the choir. And yeah, it is. Yes, we write music for people like us, people who are concerned about sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, the world burning – do you think Larry the Cable Guy or Tim Allen is gonna get up on stage and sing songs for people who can’t go to the grocery store by themselves?” Hanna exclaimed at one point in the night, met with roaring cheers and applause from the audience. 

Erica Dawn Lyle, a new addition to the band since their reformation, fits right in onstage.

At another point, when Vail was on the mic, she expressed her gratitude that the band is still able to get onstage and perform for such a receptive audience, even decades from when they started out, and later in the evening made a fantastic comment about the importance of libraries (insanely well-timed, both with the current political atmosphere surrounding censorship in schools and libraries, and leading up to National Library Week), and dedicating a song to library workers. 

Drummer Tobi Vail takes a turn on the mic, while Kathleen Hanna is seen behind her on bass.

Towards the end of the night, just prior to the encore (with Hanna back on the mic this time), Hanna gave the audience some intense praise, mentioning how great it was to see such a mixed age-group from very young kids to grandparents in the crowd. Punk is truly for everyone – this is something that Bikini Kill has stood for since their formation, and it is a reality that truly has stood the test of time.

Very few bands continue to hold the same core beliefs, and say them with their chest through their performances, their actions, their music and lyrics, and everything in between, but Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Erica Dawn Lyle are four women who do just that, and their performances are something that are worth watching, every single time. 

Bassist Kathi Wilcox is a musician who lets her instrument speak for itself.


  1. New Radio
  2. This Is Not a Test
  3. Don’t Need You
  4. Alien She
  5. Feels Blind
  6. I Hate Danger
  7. In Accordance to Natural Law
  8. Carnival
  9. Resist Psychic Death
  10. No Backrub
  11. Capri Pants
  12. For Tammy Rae
  13. For Only
  14. Demi Rep
  15. Reject All American
  16. Jigsaw Youth
  17. Sugar
  18. Rah! Rah! Replica
  19. Hamster Baby
  20. Tell Me So
  21. Magnet
  22. Lil’ Red
  23. Suck My Left One


    24. Double Dare Ya
    25. Rebel Girl

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