Bummer Records Does It Again
Teaming up with zbtfd and Unite Against Hate, Bummers records drops their second DO-NOT-MISS secret headliner show since October.
Tim Ford, February 08, 2023 // Brantford, OntarioScenes from the first secret headliner show in Brantford, Ontario. Photo credit Scum Collective.
DISCLAIMER: PORTIONS OF THE ARTICLE HAVE BEEN REDACTED TO MAINTAIN THE SECRECY OF THE BAND WHO WILL BE PERFORMING. THE FIRST SECRET SHOW WAS HELD IN OCTOBER AND FEATURED THE DIRTY NIL.
On Toronto’s ████ explosion of a single “████”, singer/guitarist, ████ ████, growls “I need the love of my home city”, only to swiftly strike his own plea down with the next line “Fuck that, need Hollywood”. It perfectly exemplifies the themes of internal and external conflict heard throughout their 2020 Polaris Prize short-listed (and some say robbed of) album ‘████’.
With Incesticide-era guitar crunch and somehow making manic howls hookier than Pharrell, the album doesn’t unlock its grip for the entire half hour run length. Drummer ████ ████ and bassist ████ ████ bring a D.C./Dischord-esque groove to the rhythm section, sneakily finding a way to both thunder with ferocity and make an entire room of people dance until they’re in sweaty convulsions.
The band takes (and throws gas on) the torch lit by Toronto acts like DFA1979, Ford Plant faves controller.controller, Brutal Knights as well as The Deadly Snakes, and marches it forward into a new Southern-O punk era with peers like PUP and Single Mothers. While the ████ have as many fist-whirling, leather-clad-choir-scream-along choruses as their 416 comrades, the words they’re belting into the mic are sung from a viewpoint rarely heard in punk.
“This is a Black-fronted punk band, and that’s really important”, ████ states on their ████ management page. Like Detroit’s proto-punk and garage-soul legends, Death and The Dirtbombs, The ████ use their “outsiders from the outsiders” approach to punk and bring a refreshing perspective on what can be seen as an ironically stringent music genre, teeming with gate keepers and key masters. “Rock n’ roll is mostly white suburban kids-that’s what gets promoted. But we are black and we out here. I was inspired to make rock music when I saw a black guy onstage, and if someone sees that in us, I hope it will inspire a new generation to go after this.”
The February 11th show promises to be full of energy and excitement. Photo credit Scum Collective.
████ says in the same ████ piece. Classic punk narratives like “where am I going in life?”, “how did I get to where I am?”, and “where/who do I want to be?” are questioned in a voice seldom heard in the scene. Nearly every line teeters between anthemic and anarchic, and when ████ screams “I don’t want to exist to take your shit” in ‘Triggered’ you believe every single fucking word.
It’s combative to the defiant and arms-out welcoming to those wanting to join in. Live, they bring that same energy to every room they play. If you’re “in”, then you’re about to take part in something magical. If you’re “out”, then find the exit sign and they’ll meet you “Outsah” as the band says.
It seems, to them there are no other options at this point. You’re in or you’re out. You can hear the last-straw frustration in every note. “Right now in Canadian music, I don’t see a band that looks like me. I don’t see a band that sounds like me.” ████ said in an interview with VICE in 2020. “BIPOC artists want to tell different kinds of stories and make different kinds of sounds. We want seats at the table. And if they don’t give them to us, we’re going to take them” he concludes.
The Dirty Nil perform in Brantford, Ontario last October. Photo credit Scum Collective.
Whether collaborating with Snotty Nose Rez Kids or championing bands like fellow Torontonian's Joncro, The ████ are walking while they’re talking and creating alternative narratives in the conversation through some of the best punk music this country has today, no matter how many gate keepers hang under the punk-rock archways.
This show takes place on February 11th at Two Doors Down (139 Market Street). Doors are at 9pm, Pay What You Can, 19+. See you there!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Ford is freelance hobbyist who lives in his twelfth home in Brantford, Ontario…so…yeah, he knows a thing or two about aluminum siding.
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