Performing in New York City for the first time in 22 years, Bikini Kill headlined Brooklyn Steel on Friday, May 31, 2019 supported by local trio Palberta (Nina Ryser, Anina Ivry-Block, and Lily Konigsberg). Tickets for the show, along with a performance at Terminal 5, originally went on sale on Friday, January 18th and sold out within minutes, if not seconds. Bikini Kill ended up adding two more shows at Kings Theatre to ensure more of their fans would be able to see them live.
Palberta began the show at 8PM and played songs both old and new. Much like the headliners, Nina, Anina and Lily switched instruments depending on the song they were about to play. The band stated they were really excited to play but said it in a deadpan manner which I found pretty amusing. There was no doubt they were truly excited to perform with such an influential band in a much larger room than they usually play. They even made custom t-shirts available for sale at the merch table for the special occasion.
To simply say that I’ve been wanting to see Bikini Kill perform live for an extremely long time is an understatement. I started listening to their music just before they disbanded in 1997. I didn’t start attending concerts until just a year later after turning 18 years old. When Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox and Erica Dawn Lyle (substituting for original guitarist Billy Karren) walked on stage last night to thunderous applause and screams, it was immediately clear that there were many other people who had been waiting just as long too. Kathleen remarked that the audience’s reaction to them being on stage would make her cry before the band began their set with “Carnival” from their first EP. Their set plus two encores pulled from their entire catalog including personal favorites of “Sugar,” and “Hamster Baby” from their 1993 record Pussy Whipped. Before playing “Hamster Baby,” Tobi told the crowd the song was written after playing a show in New York. She also dedicated “For Only,” to Roky Erikson, the Austin musician who passed away earlier that day, while “Distinct Complicity” went out to anyone who was under the age of 25 making music.
Bikini Kill continue their run of New York performances at Terminal 5 (Saturday, June 1st) and at Kings Theater (Tuesday, June 4th and Wednesday, June 5th) before performing in London and in Chicago for this year’s Riot Fest. I fully expect them to return to New York but hopefully I don’t have to wait another two decades.
Bikini Kill at Brooklyn Steel set list:
Don’t Need You
I Hate Danger
In Accordance to Natural Law
Reject All American
Tell Me So
This is Not a Test
Resist Psychic Death
Double Dare Ya
Suck My Left One
For Tammy Rae