Live Review: The Linda Lindas, Bacchae, Sub*T, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 2, 2022

The kids are all right. It’s the parents I’m worried about.

“Kids to the front” is the Linda Lindas’ directive, and whether they were rapt or zoned out, napping on the venue’s floor or enthusiastically taking up head banging, the young’uns at Music Hall Of Williamsburg were living their best lives as they listened to Eloise, Bela, Lucia and Mila rock out.

Moms, dads, aunts and uncles seemed to be losing their minds, however, as they pushed their little ones closer to the rail and proceeded to check in with the regularity of a rotor blade keeping a copter aloft: Are you all right? Are you thirsty? Are you cold? Are you hungry? Are you hot? Do you want to get closer? Do you want to move back? Do you want to sit on my shoulders? Do you know know what a guitar tech does?

Answers: Yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, please please please stop talking—I’m trying to listen to the band. (OK, maybe that last one was just me.)

What made the grownups’ antics bearable was the fact that the Linda Lindas are so much better than all right. The band members, ranging in age from 12 to 18, are inspiring on multiple levels, no matter how old you are. Their palpable joy in playing loud (but not too loud) and fast (but not too fast) is as contagious as their hooks; their ability to excel, mess up and move on is a balm for recovering perfectionists. And their intuitive understanding of how to use their platform is something to behold, as when bassist Eloise teasingly told drummer/younger cousin Mila to shut up, then immediately pivoted, urging impressionable listeners not to tell their friends to shut up and to never shut up themselves.

More importantly, the songs sounded great, especially the Baby-Sitters Club–referencing “Claudia Kishi,” the cathartic “Racist, Sexist Boy,” odes to Bela’s cats “Monica” and “Nino,” the especially timely “Vote!” and a pair of rollicking covers—“Tonite” by the Go-Go’s and an end-of-tour, all-hands-on-deck version of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” that enlisted all the other musicians who’d preceded the Linda Lindas on the bill in a mighty display of camaraderie and girl power.

Best of all, for doting parents and other adults, all three bands were the model of promptness and efficiency, giving the crowd their money’s worth and finishing up before 9:40.

Taking the stage first—at 7 on the dot—Brooklyn’s own Sub*T played melodic pop that set the tone for the night, but Washington’s Bacchae, in the middle slot, won my heart with the read-my-mind lyrics of “Read” and the move-my-body propulsion of “Hammer.”

—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich