LIVE @ MOE by 7 Year Bitch
Since this is a review of a live album that’s not currently available for streaming, we’ve included the studio versions of the songs that are mentioned.
Genre: Grunge, Riot Grrrl
Favorite Tracks: “24,900 Miles Per Hour,” “Deep In The Heart,” “Hip Like Junk”
“He said I did something very stupid today.”
7 Year Bitch hurled the Seattle Riot Grrrl crusade to a beastly level with their menacing sound that spanned from the early 90s grunge scene all the way to the dawn of the late 90s indie. Unlike the “kinderwhore” stylings of fellow femme rockers Babes in Toyland and Hole, 7 Year Bitch’s sound remains an instrument of righteous threat; barbed, sludgy, and punctuated.
The band’s live performances have been gauged as equally riveting, electric, and charismatic. MOE Recordings co-founder Scott Blum recently discovered a recording of the punk outfit’s 1996 MOE performance inside of a box stuffed within the depths of Club Moe’s basement. The venue itself, Club Moe, is almost as notorious in Seattle grunge mythos as 7 Year Bitch themselves. During the mid-90s, the dive bar hosted a variety of local and rising bands such as Radiohead, Portishead, Garbage, and Pearl Jam.
It’s clear from the sweet discovery of 7 YEAR BITCH – LIVE @ MOE that the band was a thunderous live act. Sticking to the essence of their studio tracks, the femme punk outfit plays every note with a zealous splotch of urgency. The gig showcases fierce renditions of songs from 1992’s SICK ‘EM, 1994’s ¡VIVA ZAPATA!, and 1996’s GATO NEGRO, all smothered in lead vocalist Selene Vigil’s trademark snarling baritone.
The opener, “24,900 Miles Per Hour,” wildly narrates the collapse of a “poor white trash” girl’s mental stamina: “I need a baseball bat/I’m gonna trash this office/These people, they’re fuckin’ with my head/I can’t move and they left me here/strapped to this bed/It’s another thought inside my head.” Vigil’s tempo oscillates as her onstage anger boils, thrumming with the disgruntled guitar riffs and the booming percussion. Live, the song clutches a heat-seeking energy and the lyrics assume a lethal role in shoving female empowerment down the throats of the dive bar’s patrons.
“Deep In The Heart” grooves to a looser cadence. The languid bass riffs are juxtaposed with Vigil’s dubious intentions as she snarls, “I’ve got a certain kind of feeling/As he stepped outside that door/Instantly I want something/But I don’t get no more/Please give me more.” Capricious affections are punctuated by moody swings of desire and abhorrence. The intensity of the performance is enhanced by foreboding slits of silence accompanied by reverb which drills in and out of the speakers.
“Hip Like Junk,” the band’s commercial release, takes on a sharper urgency and grittiness performed live. The guitar riffs are quintessentially grunge, a femme-glazed nod to Nirvana and Alice in Chains: “When you start lyin’ to yourself/Then don’t come runnin’ back to me/I still remember the pathetic mess/You used to be.” The authoritative brat commands are cradled carefully in the crisp recording that paradoxically captures the perennial energy of the 7 Year Bitch’s sludgy libations.
7 Year Bitch’s booming resonance has not forgiven or forgotten. You can order the bitchin’ album here.