You can be pretty confident that no one in the crowd in Islington tonight has ever been to a gig where the drummer is just 11-years-old, except, perhaps, for a reluctant school concert. But The Linda Lindas – sisters Lucia (guitar, 15) and Mila de la Garza (drums, 11), cousin Eloise Wong (bass, 14) and family friend Bela Salazar (guitar, 17) – have drawn a sold out, pleasingly eclectic crowd for their debut UK show this evening (June 7).
Just over a year since their unapologetically riotous performance of ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’ – performed in an LA library, of all places – went viral, their brief European jaunt is telling of the growing reach of their untainted punk fury, which pummels through recent debut album ‘Growing Up’. Watching the rising rockers perform live, you can’t help but feel awe at their instrumental dexterity, and maybe a touch of envy that you have no hope of ever being so cool.
They’re headbanging all over the stage from the get-go on ‘Linda Linda’, before the trio on guitars and bass rock back and forth in unison on ‘No Clue’. “You all speak English right?” Lucia jokes. “I’m from ‘Murica, so excuse me if I say dude and bro. But you say mate and blud.” She later quips that she’s trying to be cool for the people with “posh” accents, to which Wong replies: “We have the accents here!”
They charge ahead with effortless synchronicity on ‘Magic’ as they mesh grungy guitar chords and rowdy, offbeat drums, before hitting their stride in the growling rage of ‘Fine’. But the group are at their best when they’re hollering in unison on songs like ‘Oh! and ‘Rebel Girl’, where a stinging guitar solo steals the show.
It wouldn’t be fair to caveat praise of their instrumental prowess with “for their age”, because The Linda Lindas execute every song on the 18-track setlist at whiplash-inducing speed as if it’s nothing. But there’s a blurry line between their DIY appeal and the rougher edges, where layered harmonies on ‘Talking To Myself’ descend into singular roars, and sluggish transitions leave room for a lot of dead air. While expecting a teenager to MC to such an intimate London crowd is a tough ask, Lucia makes a valiant effort.
They ask if this is anyone’s first gig, which draws a childish “yeah” from the crowd, and the next generation of punk girls drag their dads closer to the stage, hands overflowing with merch. If The Linda Lindas is what gets the girls to the front in the spirit of their riot grrrl foremothers Bikini Kill, the future of punk looks bright.
The Linda Lindas played:
‘Linda Linda’ (The Blue Hearts cover)
‘Never Say Never’
‘Talking To Myself’
‘Tonite’ (The Go-Go’s cover)
‘Racist Sexist Boy’