Photos and Review By Shannon Cheng.
November 16th was a rainy and cold night in San Francisco; but upon entering The Regency Ballroom, warmth was the only feeling to be felt. The crowd was reminiscent of a big family barbeque as it was so diverse in age — from little kids coming to a concert on a school night, retired couples who might also be retired punks, and adults enjoying some music after work — they all came for The Linda Lindas. This punk rock band consists of four adolescent girls, the oldest being 19 and the youngest being 13, and plays songs that can only be described as iconic.
The show was opened by Illuminati Hotties, a Los Angeles based indie-rock band. The lead singer Sarah Tudzin’s boisterous voice and the band’s energetic stage presence did not leave a single dull moment from the moment they stepped on stage till the end of their set.
The Linda Lindas’ set began with “Talking to Myself,” from their debut album Growing Up that came out in 2022. Right away, I could hear the little kids lined up at the barricade chanting the lyrics. The energy on stage was infectious; the girls dominated the stage with a light-hearted and carefree spirit as they danced and jumped along while playing their set. At times, I wondered if the stage was a disguised trampoline from how much and how high they were jumping. The Linda Linda’s songs were all very diverse in style, language, content, and who it was sung by. From “Nino,” a song dedicated to a band member’s cat, to “Growing up” which perfectly captures the coming of age the girls are experiencing, the band embodies an overall whimsical youthfulness in their performance. They also performed quite a few unreleased songs, one of them being a song sung in Spanish. It was a waltz sung by guitarist Bela Salazar who encouraged the audience to dance to the music. The crowd eagerly obliged as I witnessed so many people swaying to the music. Yet in direct contrast, there were times when the audience was vigorously headbanging and hair whipping; The Linda Linda’s diverse music has a song to suit a spectrum of moods.
I was first introduced to this band by my highschool English teacher. As he was very into punk and indie rock in his youth, he often played The Linda Lindas along with music from The Smiths and Ramones during class. As I peered into the audience, I could see my English teacher in a lot of the older listeners who might have been drawn to The Linda Linda’s sound as it was reminiscent of the Riot Grrrl era or the rock music they grew up listening to.
The night ended with “Racist, Sexist Boy,” the song that launched them into the spotlight after their performance of it at the Los Angeles Public Library in 2021. As the bandmates are all people of color, this song was a product of the racism some of the members faced in school. During this finale, The Linda Lindas invited Sarah Tudzin on stage with them to send off the audience together through a joint performance of the song.
I left the concert with a deep appreciation for The Linda Lindas as they are role models in pop culture for the next generation of girls and youth as a whole, encouraging them to be more expressive and solidifying a moral compass within young listeners. After seeing this all girl band composed of ethnic minorities singing anthems about the innocence and challenges of growing up, I can not wait to see what The Linda Lindas have in store for the future.