Le Tigre w/ MAN ON MAN
Chicago, IL @ The Salt Shed
July 15, 2023
Photos and Review by Nina Tadic
Le Tigre is a Girl Scoutcore, funky, fun feminist dream to witness.
On their first full tour since 2005, the band took to Chicago’s Salt Shed this past Saturday to play a riotous, art pop adventure of a set.
Opener MAN ON MAN, a dynamic duo consisting of boyfriends Roddy Bottum and Joey Holman, got the show going with a funky electronic set, the crowd was extremely receptive to it – cheering, dancing, and just generally appreciating the duet’s performance!
And of course, everyone knew what to expect from Le Tigre, when their set began – art. Pop art, vibrant colors, lights, sounds, rhymes and songs with plenty of audience participation – which is exactly what they received. Just like in the band’s olden days, the three came out in the most vivid outfits – Joanna Fateman in a silver reflective dress and turquoise tights, Kathleen Hanna in a puff-sleeved magenta dress with lemon yellow tights, and JD Samson in a blue on blue sweater vest and slacks combo. These vivid, fun outfits (later replaced with black and white harlequin costumes), were the perfect accompaniment for the band’s vibrant and lively discography and setlist.
Performing a plethora of tracks off of each of their four full length albums – Le Tigre, From the Desk of Mr. Lady, Feminist Sweepstakes, and This Island – they were sure to put on a show. The entire night, the LED screen behind them played a gorgeous mix of stop-motion animation, vintage film clips, neon colored graphics, you name it, all accompanied by lyrics playing across the top of the screen so that fans could follow/sing along!
Songs like “TKO” and “My My Metrocard” had entrancing graphics, which paired with their catchy, synthy rhymes and lyrics made them prime candidates for fans to sing and dance along to. Then there are tracks like “F.Y.R.” that include the best chanting lyrics, and highlight the intersectional feminist ideals that Le Tigre stands for. These are the same beliefs and ideals that their fans gather to celebrate, scream about, and twist and shout under glowing blue lights and LED motion graphics displays. “Hot Topic,” is another that seemed to be a hit with the crowd, because of its entertaining and still motivational lyrics. These same lyrics, ideals, and beliefs, when sung about in a fun, wacky, electronic way, almost feel like if Girl Scout camp rhymes were amplified by ten million percent, turned up to volume 100, and played at an electro-pop rave. Hence the deeming of “Girl Scoutcore,” a compliment in every way.
Though Le Tigre is campy, dancy, and fun, their music still carries weight for so many members of their fanbase – “Viz,” a song about butch lesbian visibility in the LGBTQ+ community, receives a fantastic reception from the crowd as Samson takes center stage, Hanna in her place. “Keep On Livin’,” is one that Hanna introduces my reminding the crowd that there are so many kinds of abuse that folks go through – domestic abuse, sexual abuse, workplace abuse, racism, and though these things can be so inherently exhausting, the best thing we can do is push through them and “Keep On Livin’!” Hanna also addressed how interesting it is that there are what seems to be endless amounts of songs in existence, but so few are written about surviving abuse or going through heavy things, which inspired her to write some music about these things with Le Tigre.
This is not Le Tigre’s first time around the block, and it shows, both with the way they’ve sold out such a massive venue after being off tour for nearly two decades, and in the way they love what they do. Performing a phenomenal audio-visual adventure, their expression is an outlet for these three and their fans as well, and it shows. They will always be worth the watch, given the chance.