Review: Bikini Kill & Ganser Ignite a Fiery Crowd at the Salt Shed

The Salt Shed’s track record just keep getting better with every passing show. Nearly every one of their shows feels like a perfectly curated night of musicians getting to share their sounds to a packed venue. Last weekend they kept that going with a noisy, and absolute banger of a night with Ganser and Bikini Kill riling up an enthusiastic crowd.

Ganser set the tone for the night immediately with their intense opening set. While I have had the chance to see the band perform plenty before, this was the first time with the updated lineup. Sophie Sputnik (who you may know from the equally exciting Waltzer) joined the band, taking Nadia Garofalo’s spot as she exited the band earlier this year. While it’s always scary to see a change that big for a band your truly enjoy, I can safely say that Sputnik is a fantastic addition to the band.

Ganser‘s sound is monstrously loud thank to Brian Cundiff’s intensive drums, Alicia Gaines perfect bass lines, and Charlie Landsman’s otherworldly guitar work. Sputnik vocals fit in perfectly, lifting the already fantastic base into event more self assured post punk madness. “Lucky”, which is a signature track if I ever heard one, lunges with the most deadly of strikes as the whole band melds together as the chanting of “Drink up sonny” hits hard throughout the track.

It’s pretty safe to say that the crowd was warmed up for Bikini Kill after that exciting set. Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox, Tobi Vail, and Sara Landeau took that ready to go energy and ramped it up right from the get go. “New Radio” blasted through the audience, igniting a real sense of urgency to just have a damn good time. The crowd rustled and moshed as they followed Bikini Kill into “This is Not a Test” and “Don’t Need You”. There was an undeniable sense of community in the generation spanning crowd as they connected with every fiery word of these heightened tracks.

Bikini Kill storied history is laced with feminist anthems and of course their live show embodies that fully. In between songs like “Alien She” and “I Hate Danger” (on which Vail takes lead on vocals), Hanna spent much of the night pushing the much needed call to stand up for what’s right. “This next song is about… I don’t want to say I just want to sing it” Hanna uttered before “Resist Psychic Death” rang out with it’s steadfast lyrics. It set the stage for “Jigsaw Youth” which would come much later in the show but reiterate that need for more than just one viewpoint and a need to come together. One thing in particular she made very clear was that new fights and troubles are arising every day and that older feminists need to see that and continue the road of progress.

While these sentiments stayed true the entire night (including an impassioned push to “fuck up these fucking right wing assholes which was mean with a glorious roar from the Salt Shed crowd), Hanna still wanted be people to have a great time. “I Like Fucking”, which is about women taking back their sexuality, had everyone clamoring for more. The furious quickness of “Magnet” sent everyone into a tizzy with it’s empowered intro of “You don’t own me!”. It was an unbridled punk rock energy that the audience matched.

Just as the night was coming to its likely end and the heights of the night were seemingly done, Hanna and crew made sure that there was more to come. Hanna recounted more of the shitty and inexcusable behavior the men around her and her sister while growing up exhibited toward them. It all led to a saying her sister coined as a response to these me : “Suck My Left One”. The cheer from the crowd merged with Hanna snarl of the song and raged into the bombastic track. It was frenzy that had been going on all night reignited yet again. That energy last well past the usual encore wait, where Bikini Kill gave the crowd a”Double Dare Ya” to kick off the true end of the night.

Of course, there’s a certain track that has been neglected throughout this review and Bikini Kill’s setlist. But honestly, would your really expect them to skip “Rebel Girl” or not save it for the end of the night. Every band has that ONE song that transcends the band itself and is forever iconic. It would be insane not to place that title on “Rebel Girl”. It would also be insane not expect the entire crowd to go nuts for that final moment of the night. That Iconic opening, “That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood”, shook the Slat Shed to its foundation with Hanna’s explosiveness refusing to give anything but 100%. It was all the feminist fury you could letting lose for one final burst at the end of a boisterous night.

All photos by Julian Ramirez

Julian Ramirez
Julian Ramirez