Seminal Riot Grrl act and feminist punk icons Bikini Kill have surprised fans by announcing three bi-coastal shows coming up in late April and early May. The group plan to reunite for two appearances in New York and one in Los Angeles, their first performances since re-forming for just one song at NYC venue The Kitchen in November 2017 for the release party of author Jenn Pelly's 33 1/3 book focusing on the Raincoats' 1979 self-titled album.
Formed in 1990 in Olympia, Washington, Bikini Kill — whose original lineup featured singer Kathleen Hanna, guitarist Billy Karren, bassist Kathi Wilcox and drummer Tobi Vail — are considered the original leaders of the 1990s Riot Grrl movement, which was marked by aggressive, harsh sounds and outspoken (for the times) views on feminism and gender roles. Inspired by earlier femme rockers like Joan Jett, the Bangles, Wendy O and the Runaways, Bikini Kill and their contemporaries shifted the paradigm of the male-centric rock world at the time and gained mainstream popularity that continues to provoke women to create music today.
Hanna has disputed much of the retrospective glamorization of the movement, telling the Portland Mercury once, "[We were] very vilified during the Nineties by so many people, and hated by so many people, and I think that that's been kind of written out of the history. People were throwing chains at our heads — people hated us — and it was really, really hard to be in that band ... It's sometimes hard for me when people are like, 'Oh, I wish I was in a girl band in the Nineties,' and I'm like, 'No, no, you don't.'"
History aside, Bikini Kill's reunion will surely a hot ticket for the spring. The band's members have stayed busy with various side projects (such as Hanna's Le Tigre and the Julie Ruin, Vail's the Old Haunts), but the band hasn't played a proper show since their breakup in 1997. Tickets for the spring shows will go on sale Friday morning, January 18th, at 12 p.m. EST.