It’s always terrifying meeting your heroes. You don’t want to see the human parts of them, only the glorious godlike parts that made them your hero in the first place. REFUSED was my first punk band, the one that got me into the culture and showed me that punk is a lifestyle, not a fashion choice or a music genre. So seeing them live at Trees Dallas was a bit nerve wracking as my expectations were very high. Thankfully, they not only met those expectations, but blew them away completely. Not only did they have that raw energy that helped to make them the cornerstone of hardcore/punk music in the first place, but they also had the refinement that comes with age and practice. The onstage energy that they displayed could have come from a much younger, well rested band, not from men who are my parents age.
The talk between songs was more evidence that this band isn’t just here to play music, but also to help promote politics and positive ideas: “I don’t want to live in a world where half of the population is scared of my gender….this is a problem that has showed up very heavily in rock and roll. The whole “cock rock” term is evidence of that. Guys, it’s really easy….get your fucking shit together.” The crowd loved every single part, this is a band that was their hero as well. A record, an album, a song that helped to shape them not only musically, but as people. REFUSED has aged beautifully, and it’s exciting to see what happens next. For the time being? Go to their shows or pick up their newest record Freedom.
No one can accuse THE COATHANGERS of not demanding respect. Forget the fact that it’s an all-female band, their stage presence is undeniably powerful and accessible at the same time. They take any sexist ideas you may have and stuff them down your throat. With vocal duties being split among the three piece, and each member bringing a ferocious power to their playing and stage presence, it’s truly a sight to see. If you’re a fan of 90’s post punk, or just looking for some interesting new jams, check out their new record Nosebleed Weekend. The song “Squeeki Tikii” is an especially unusual treat.
“We’re giving it everything we got into our set tonight. You know, sometimes bands will say that they’re stoked to be somewhere and they’re not? I’ve done it before. But tonight? I mean it. Thank you Dallas.” PLAGUE VENDOR brought their own style and energy of punk to Trees that night. They really did give it everything they had, and then some. Pulling vibes straight from old school punk, and adding their own spin and spice to it made them highly enjoyable to listen to. The antics that their vocalist Brandon Blaine got up to? Just the icing on the cake. If you’re wanting to see the fresh blood of punk in person? Certainly check out PLAGUE VENDOR. Their latest record Bloodsweat is out now.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: CRYSTAL FAYE PHOTOGRAPHY