Punk rock icons! Bikini Kill, fronted by the uncompromising and incomparable Kathleen Hanna, are one of the most groundbreaking, breathtaking and influential bands of the last few decades. Based on DIY ideology and a relentless fury about always having to be passive viewers of (male) music-making, the Olympia-based quartet revolted in the early 90’s against the music business, against society, against an outdated and limited view of women. They screamed, made noise, violated conventions. It was the beginning of a feminist punk rock movement that soon became global and inspired everyone from Nirvana and Sleater-Kinney to Liv Strömquist and Pussy Riot. The aftermath is still evident today. Following the break-up of Bikini Kill in 1997, Kathleen Hanna kept busy in brilliant bands such as Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin – the latter played at Way Out West in 2015. For the Bikini Kill reunion earlier this year, Hanna was joined by original members Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail plus new guitarist Erica Dawn Lyle.
“BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways.” That’s how Kathleen Hanna put it in the riot grrrl manifesto that was published in a fanzine named Bikini Kill 1991. So far rock music, including otherwise open-minded punk- and alternative rock, mostly had allowed one woman at a time on the scene and never on the same conditions as men. Since they were released, songs such as Rebel Girl, New Radio, Suck My Left One, Feels Blind and Double Dare Ya haven’t lost anything in relevance or edge. Or as New York Times recently wrote: “Time has not tamed Bikini Kill, but its ferocious response to assault and inequity has found a much bigger audience today than it enjoyed a quarter-century ago.”
The show at Way Out West will be the band’s first ever performance on Swedish soil.