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Violent Femmes to Perform Their Iconic First Two Albums at Riverfront Live

During these unprecedented performances, the Femmes will start the show by playing their second album, Hallowed Ground, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2024, in its entirety. Following a brief intermission, the band will retake the stage and play their debut record, Violent Femmes, from cover to cover, as well as a few fan- and band-favorites to finish the show. Serving as a sonic time capsule for the soul, these special shows will capture a pivotal moment in music as Femmes’ Lead Vocalist and Guitarist Gordon Gano wrote the songs for both albums while he was still in high school. In fact, the tracks for Hallowed Ground were penned long before the release of Violent Femmes, but the band wanted to focus on upbeat songs for the debut album and wanted to “confuse people” with the more experimental songs that ended up as Hallowed Ground.

 Violent Femmes will be stopping at Riverfront Live on May 17th!

The result was two unique releases that showcased very different sides of the Violent Femmes. Their eponymous record, once hailed as the “soundtrack to male puberty,” amplified teenage angst and alienation in the 1980s with such songs as “Kiss Off,” “Add It Up,” and “Gone Daddy Gone.” The album, which was mostly autobiographical, would later prove to embody some of the most relatable and enduring anthems of a disenchanted youth that the world has ever known. And while it took the album 10 years to go Platinum and hit the Billboard Top 200, it has now sold three million copies worldwide and is still in rotation on today’s top rock stations, cementing it as more than a simple battle cry for misunderstood adolescence. Today, it stands as a pillar of an American underground movement, and one of the best early examples of alternative rock.

Meanwhile, Hallowed Ground, which incorporated elements of country, gospel, and blues, was a surprise to many critics and fans who were expecting another collection of teen-rage punk songs. Instead, what they received was an eclectic piece of art that not only fused different genres and sounds but also ideals and imagery that only a pubescent Gano could write. Songs like the bold and bluesy "Sweet Misery Blues" and the banjo-fueled "Country Death Song" proved that the Femmes are nothing if not true to themselves, and stands as a tribute to their resilience, bravery, and unwavering indifference to the scrutiny of the industry. 40 years later, Hallowed Ground continues to mystify and excite listeners. Which was what the Femmes planned all along.

For the remainder of the ’90s, Violent Femmes continued to record new material, while their earliest songs remained in the zeitgeist, thanks to popular shows and films like “My So-Called Life,” Reality Bites, and Grosse Pointe Blank. Since that time, the band has released 10 studio albums including their most recent Hotel Last Resort (2019). Today, Violent Femmes continues to resonate with audiences of all ages. Upon the band’s 40th anniversary, Pitchfork wrote that “The Femmes don’t signify an era so much as a time of life,” adding that “for young people growing up in the internet age” their music “is part of a shared language.”