Queer-glam band PWR BTTM previewed their second record “Pageant” scheduled for release on May 12. Originally scheduled to be held at the Brooklyn venue Shea Stadium, the venue was changed due to a police raid at the DIY space.
Making their first trek to the east coast, the Seattle trio Naked Giants opened the show with an aggressive, thrashing approach. Loaded with heavy riffs and shouting vocals, the group showed mature sensibilities akin to modern punk luminaries like Ty Segall or Twin Peaks. With their first EP released through Miscreant Records, the label that released PWR BTTM’s debut album, the band belongs to a roster of rising acts including Vagabon and T-Rextasy.
Mal Blum dropped their third LP “You Look A Lot Like Me” back in 2015, featuring guest vocals from Marissa Paternoster from Screaming Females. Since then, the singer has been featured on Hannah Hart’s YouTube channel, toured with Slothrust and Allison Weiss. As a nonbinary person, the singer bantered about how they came to embrace wearing glitter makeup on tour with PWR BTTM because of the complicated nature of gender. Now currently in between records, Blum has expanded to a full band, which they attribute to their renewed interest in touring and performing.
With a queue of young teens adorned in glitter makeup lined up hours before the doors opened, the show marked the first all ages NYC show the band played in years. Initially a duo consisting of Ben Hopkins who uses he/they pronouns and Liv Bruce who uses they/them switching off on drums and guitar, the group has since expanded with the addition of a bassist, horn/keyboard player and even Hopkins’ mother Chris on vocals. Noted for their choice of outfits, Bruce wore a transparent pink romper, while Hopkins’ look for the evening was a thrift store dress made from a tablecloth. Starting off with their album opener “Silly,” the band played a solid mix of their first record “Ugly Cherries” and new material. As a group, they stand staunchly for promoting ideals such as gender-neutral restrooms at all the venues they play and request for no moshing or slam dancing at their shows as it cannot be done in a consensual manner. The band performed four tracks for their encore, debuting the emotionally raw track “Pageant” which sees the duo more stripped down with acoustic guitar and a strident french horn, detailing a narrative about struggling with the performative nature of gender and dysphoria. Their set ended with the track “Trade” from their demo “Cinderella Beauty Shop EP” also known as “a poem designed to kill fascists.” Having announced a massive national tour days before the show, the docket also included their largest headlining show to date at Webster Hall on June 21, which is already halfway there to being sold-out.