Rock royalty Joan Jett joined legendary punks Bikini Kill onstage Tuesday night, for a live performance of their anthemic 1993 single, “Rebel Girl.” Set in Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre, it was the band’s seventh stop on their prodigious reunion tour.
Bikini Kill delivered nothing short of a thunderous performance in Brooklyn that night. Frontwoman Kathleen Hanna offset her sobering, Trump-era stage banter with the occasional feminist standup routine — including epic jabs at ageism among Bikini Kill’s own fans. “Don’t call me ‘Mom!'” she warned showgoers: “First of all, I’m not your fucking mom, and if one more person calls me ‘Riot Mom’ I’m gonna put you all in a fucking station wagon! Why don’t you go on Instagram and call Eddie Vedder ‘Dad?'”
After serving a high-octane arsenal of crowd favorites and deep cuts — a few of them sung by drummer Tobi Vail — the band ushered in the lone special guest that night: “Please welcome to the stage,” said Hanna, “Joan Jett!”
With axe in hand, Joan Jett took the stage and ripped through “Rebel Girl,” as guitarist Erica Dawn Lyle and bassist Kathi Wilcox fiercely strummed along. Blazing brightly in every color of the rainbow, the stage lights flooded the theatre in (what one might suggest was) a strong showing of LGBTQ solidarity. “In her kiss,” sang Hanna, “I taste the revolution!”
Joan Jett last collaborated with the band in their 1998 compilation album, The Singles. Jett produced, played guitar and shared vocal duties with Hanna in three songs: “New Radio,” “Rebel Girl,” and “Demirep” — which opens with Hanna and Jett indulging in a game of Miss Mary Mack. The album was reissued last year and is now available on streaming services.
“Bikini Kill was a really intense, amazing band to be in and I’m happy that the music is going to be available to more people,” said Hanna in 2018. “I hope that for some people, it’s the gateway drug to feminism.”
Bikini Kill will play one more date at the Kings Theatre, before they cross the Atlantic to play two shows in London. The band is also scheduled to headline this year’s Riot Fest in Chicago.