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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : 7 Year Bitch: It's the Real Thing, Punk

April 16, 1993|STEVE HOCHMAN

Hollywood's best screenwriters couldn't invent a more perfect punk band for the '90s than Seattle's 7 Year Bitch. It has a perfect punk name, a perfect lineup of four raging young grunge-feminist women and, sadly, even a perfect punk tragedy in the heroin-related death last summer of guitarist Stefanie Sargent.

On Wednesday at Bogart's in Long Beach, it was clear that this is no prefab show-biz calculation, not with that unaffected, do-it-yourself aesthetic and--most importantly--the intense, charismatic presence of singer Selene Vigil.

Vigil would be perfect for a role of the cell-block bully in a women-in-prison flick. Wednesday she seemed constantly on the verge of explosion, shooting withering glares into the audience and snarling economical put-down poetry over the band's retro-punk grind. The provocative and confrontational songs (cf. "Dead Men Don't Rape") make Thelma and Louise look like June Cleaver and Donna Stone.

Compared to such similar acts as Hole and Babes in Toyland, 7 Year Bitch never quite channeled the explosive rage into a musical powder-keg, but it struck a nice balance between L7's tight crunch and the amateur approach of such Riot Grrrl bands as Bikini Kill. Anyway, Vigil alone is enough reason to value the band highly, whether it grows into major stars or remains an underground bunch of perfect punks.

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