L7 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The bratty Donnas may be hard rock's favorite femmes fatales at the moment, but their spiritual foremothers in L7 could eat them for breakfast. "Sardonic" doesn't begin to suggest the comedic disdain with which Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner spit out their syllables on the new Slap-Happy, stretching vowels into sneers on such statements of purpose as "Place my bet on my rawkin' macheen" and "I want a laaack-ey" and "Stick to the plaaan, maaan." The last could be a mantra: over the last 11 years, despite the departure of two bass players, Sparks, Gardner, and drummer Dee Plakas have worked their bombastic grunge so it fits them like a trusty, weather-beaten leather jacket. And despite changes in fortune and fashion, they still wear it well. Parting ways with Reprise after '97's The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum, they've issued Slap-Happy on their own new imprint, Wax Tadpole, and its instant anthem, "Livin' Large," is one of the catchiest songs about success (and lack thereof) ever written. "We're livin' large in our own little way / We're livin' large and we don't get paid," Gardner and Sparks sing. "We're livin' large and we got a lot / What they call a certain je ne sais quoi.../ Got some lemons, make some kick-ass lemonade." Have a drink on them. Friday, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. Saturday, 9 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

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