The ladies of Le Tigre really know how to spoil an audience. If you've only heard about their explosive live shows -- the massive screen with original videos for each song, the synchronized kicks and choreography, the tricked-out cover of the Pointer Sisters' ''I'm So Excited" -- you're in for a real treat once you finally see them in person.
Their show at Avalon Saturday was a revelation; it's doubtful there is anyone, at least on a major label (the band's new album is on Universal), as exciting and empowering as Le Tigre live. Front woman Kathleen Hanna has to be the coolest chick -- scratch that -- the coolest person in rock. What other band could turn the lyrics ''Feminists, we're calling you/ Please report to the front desk/ Let's name this phenomenon/ It's too dumb to bring us down" into a dance-floor frenzy that even gets the men to pump their fists and pogo?
Le Tigre's first tour stop to promote ''This Island" was an absolute triumph. In glam-punk attire trimmed with gold lam, and resembling rejects from a Richard Simmons workout video, Hanna and her band mates, Johanna Fateman on guitar and JD Samson on keyboards, stormed the stage with ''T.K.O." Through a potent mix of queer politics, do-it-yourself ethos, feminist rallying cries, and a dizzying array of synthesized hooks and riffs, each woman had her moment to shine, often switching instruments and assuming lead vocals.
And forget Michael Moore for a second; the Democrats' real secret weapon could be Hanna. In the song ''Seconds," her anti-Bush rants were incendiary, and as a video screen projected a toy cowboy shooting his way across Iraq on a wind-up horse, she screamed to the president: ''Bombing in the nighttime/ Lying on TV/ You make me sick, sick, sick, sick, sick."
By the time the encore of ''I'm So Excited" brought us to a close, a young woman on the side hoisted a sign that summarized the crowd's mood throughout the evening: ''We live for this."
All that excitement partly snowballed from the opening set of Gravy Train!!!!, who whipped the audience into shape with its X-rated electro-rap, synchronized dance moves, pompoms, and, most of all, some serious booty-shaking. They acted like a high-school gay/straight alliance gone wild. Finally, we know what Peaches and performance artist Karen Finley would have been like as a teenage girl group.
with Gravy Train!!!!
At: Avalon, Saturday night