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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Joan Jett

Tonight @ M&I Classic Rock Stage, Summerfest, 9:30 p.m.

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Joan Jett loves rock 'n' roll-a fact made abundantly clear by her 1982 hit single "I Love Rock 'n Roll." And don't get her started about her bad reputation! A virtuoso of the three-chord rock song, Jett set the prototype for the riot grrl movement of the 1990s (and the teenyboppers covering Joan Jett movement of the 2000s; see: Spears, Brittney and Lavigne, Avril).

There are distinct epochs to Jett's fan base. There were the years garnering British punks with her first band, The Runaways. There were the years as the titular lead singer of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, with a radio-friendly audience. And there were the years she was held as a deity by anti-girl-group girl groups, like L7 and Bikini Kill. It's hard to gauge in advance which fans show up for each show, but they all, more or less, show up for the same things: Jett's transparently brash attitude, and her blunt, wallowing-through-the-punk-rock-muck guitar work.

Her Summerfest performance is, among other things, a preview of coming attractions. The Runaways will be the subject of a soon to be filmed bio-pic, where Jett will be portrayed by Twilight's famed vampire-maker-outer Kristen Stewart. Appropriate: Jett is rock 'n' roll to the kissing-a-demonic-hell-being degree.