Joan Jett, Rock’s Reigning Goddess

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Sunday, March 16

Joan Jett seems to have found the rock-&-roll fountain of youth. At 55, she transcends both space and time, her look and sound unchanged across nearly 40 years in the record business. She’s still thin and tomboyish, sporting the same haircut and skintight Spandex, her raspy voice as evocative as ever. And she’s still with the Blackhearts, releasing their 10th record together, Unvarnished, last year. If you made a playlist with that band’s 2013 songs alongside tracks from its 1981 debut, I Love Rock ’N’ Roll, you’d be hard-pressed to name which ones came from which record. Therein lies everything that’s great about Joan Jett: Like Motörhead and the Ramones, some sounds don’t need mucking with no matter the decade.

Helping keep her young, Jett collaborates on the new album with a few of her peers, which is to say rockers with punk roots: Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! “Just the two of us cut it in the studio,” she told Rolling Stone about “Any Weather,” the track she wrote with Grohl. “He played the drums. I played the rhythm guitar. It was a really fun thing.”

Not only is Jett a rock icon, but a feminist and animal activist to boot, sticking to her politics as tightly as to her sound. She made news last December when she asked SeaWorld to stop using her music as part of their whale show. “I’m among the millions who saw Blackfish,” she wrote to the theme park about the documentary about captive orcas, “and am sickened that my music was blasted without my permission at sound-sensitive marine mammals.” Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, and Trace Adkins also distanced themselves from SeaWorld in response to the film.

Though she’s playing the nostalgia circuit, Jett remains more relevant than anybody else coming through the casinos in upcoming weeks (sorry, Pat Benatar), and has more rock classics under her belt too: “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” and “Crimson and Clover” will be rock-radio staples as long as there is rock radio. In a word (or four): She’s rock’s reigning goddess. Go see her. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234, 7 p.m. $35–$62. 21 and over.

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