The Linda Lindas + Sophia Bel + MBG @ Rialto Theatre

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Linda Lindas at Rialto in Montreal

Last year, amongst the tiresome makeup tutorials and lame TikTok dance challenges that littered my newsfeed, a viral video of The Linda Lindas popped up like a spark in the dark, and I was hooked. Young girls expressing truth and raging about injustice…was this still possible? Were they for real? Oh God, I hope it wasn’t just a fake video with child actors pretending to be Pop-punkers.

On Thursday, September 29th The Linda Lindas were headlining at The Rialto for POP Montreal, so I was about to find out if they were the real deal.

When I got to the theatre, the vibe was quite surreal. I have never seen so many children at a concert before. Kids in funky headbands and tutus, colourful hair and berets and their enthusiastic parents were anxiously awaiting for the show.

MBG Toronto band

First up was Toronto alt/rock band MBG who brought great energy and got the crowd rocking in no time. I really enjoyed “Too Slow,” which showcased Leena’s vocal range. And “Go O.U.T” was a real banger.

Their new single, “I’m Not In Luv,” just dropped.

Sophia Bell in Montreal 2022

Next was Montreal’s pop/punk princess Sophia Bel who floated onto the stage in a long, lilac satin gown. Exuding a calm and cool presence, she quickly switched up the mood. Her voice was soft and syrupy with a slight sneer, and she was able to capture the attention of the young crowd, who were clearly out passed their bedtime. (think Avril Lavigne on Xanax)

By the second track, “I Don’t Need My Space,” the room warmed up, and people began to dance.

“Harvest Moon” (Neil Young) was a pleasant surprise and a treat for the older “kids” like me who were not familiar with her music.

By the last song, “You’re Not Real You’re Just A Ghost,” Sophia definitely picked up a bunch of new fans.

2 AM
I Don’t Need My Space
I Won’t Bite
I Only Want You Cuz You’re Mean
Lighter Fluid
Harvest Moon
All Fucking Weekend

When The Linda Lindas popped up, around 09:30, most of the small kids had faded. Their bright eyes now dark, as they crashed out on chairs or draped over their parents’ bodies like little punk sloths. The rest of us, however were ready.

The set list was clearly well calculated as they opened with their cover of “Linda Linda” from which they got their name (based on a song by 80’s Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts). And closed with their super fresh cover of “Rebel Girl”, the perfect homage to their foremothers Bikini Kill.

The girls from L.A., hit the ground running and did not stop until the very end. They shredded, they danced and screamed with great abandon. It was joyful and cathartic, and my inner 12-year-old could not stop smiling.

I was very impressed with their stage presence and musicality, considering how young they are. The girls were comfortable on stage and seemed to be having fun.

Lucia on guitar and vocals (15) and Mila on drums and vocals (12) are sisters. Their cousin Eloise is on bass and vocals (14), and their friend Bela on guitar and vocals (18).

I love the fact that they all share the spotlight as each member contributes vocals. Their banter between songs was innocent and warm. Lucia thanked us for coming out on a school night and asking us if we had any pets.

Bela sang two songs about her cats, and they both rocked. “Nino” reminded me of the B52s. And her vocals on “Cuantas Veces” were lovely.

“Racist Sexist Boy” got the most cheer, with Eloise and Mila sharing adrenalized vocals.

Lucia got us all singing along to “Oh,” which was great fun. And her voice on “Growing Up” had the perfect balance of vulnerability and power.

“We’ll dance like nobody’s there
We’ll dance without any cares
We’ll talk ’bout problems we share
We’ll talk ’bout things that ain’t fair
We’ll sing ’bout things we don’t know
We’ll sing to people and show
What it means to be young and growing up”

Imagine a world where you can be your authentic self. Where you can call out people who have wronged you. Where your voice is heard because you have the mic and you have something to say. It doesn’t matter if you’re Asian, queer or a 12-year-old girl. You matter.

Dressed in their retro cotton frocks and loafers, ponytails and whiskers drawn onto their delicate faces, The Linda Lindas came in like kittens and left like lions.

Review – Annette Aghazarian
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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