The number of expensive hats and paper clip necklaces in the room—not to mention the Ty Segall lookalikes—would make you think you’re at Glasslands rather than a punk queercore show at some Park Slope venue best known for being “the bar next to that really good pizza place”. It’s Gay Pride Day in Brooklyn and the all girl band, “BOYS” (ha, ha) is ready to give the amassed dearly-beloved-we-have-gathered-here-today crowd all that they’ve got. Charged with duck taped ¥ signs on their jackets (can you say DIY), BOYS start the show with their fit fueled artillery. “My secret for getting by is acting like you care when you’re sleeping with random girls” sings Frances Rex on “Musical Beds”.
Their set is full of Venus in Furs references and an Elliot Smith sense of self-doubt and betrayal. On “Self Control”, they sing, “All this dread fills my head/ Of your happiness in someone else’s bed”. On “Circles”, a song that beckons for the kind of emotional disengagement explored by Belle & Sebastian, you can hear a kind of spacey dark sound that takes cues from 90s alt rock.
As sad as the lyrics are, the crowd dances fervidly to the angry bass lines and it’s as if everybody finds themselves by singing about being lost together. The punk band, however, isn’t quite punk in the three chords sense of the word. Each member is a talented multi-instrumentalist in their own right—in fact, drummer Allie Falco happens to be in two other bands, Saint Rocco and Royal Garde. With their melodic hooks, vocal harmonies, and fast and loud energetic performance, the NYC born and raised band brings the crowd together by expressing its discontent with society’s disapproval of the gay, transexual, lesbian and transgender communities.
For someone whose queer exposure is limited to Monika Treut screenings and late night conversations with the self proclaimed pansexual “Mexi Lexi” on Christopher Street, I felt more at ease in the chaos of a room full of proud queercore fans than I ever did in the homophobic city of Jakarta, where I grew up. And if you still seek reassurance—yes, couples were getting it on in the back row (ah, the true marker of a successful show). If you can’t make it to the Punk Island festival on June 21st, make sure to catch the band live at Fontana’s on the 26th!