Downtown Boys, Clear Channel & Big Huge @ Union Pool (pics, review)
Even though it was a chilly Sunday night (11/10), the back room at Union Pool filled up for political punks Downtown Boys, who were joined by Big Huge and Clear Channel. Big Huge got the crowd warmed up with a set of garagey, funky, and often flamboyant songs; Clear Channel was next and dialed up the energy with their groove-heavy echo-drenched space punk sound for an exciting and energetic performance. They hail from Washington, DC and feature Downtown Boys bassist Mary Regalado along with her signature driving bass lines.
By time Downtown Boys took to the stage, the crowd was amped to dance hard, and ready to shout along. From the get-go vocalist Victoria Ruiz was in and out of the crowd and passing the mic repeatedly to fans, finishing the set by inviting several audience members on stage to sing with them. The mood in the room was jovial and fun, with the crowd dancing as if there was no tomorrow, but the radical politics of the band are always firmly at the forefront of their music and at their shows, with this night being no different. Keeping with that, they spoke between songs about several causes for concern and leftist activist groups fighting back against injustice, including No Music For Ice, which guitarist Joey DeFrancesco has been a part of organizing. As mentioned, a growing group of musicians have been urging other musicians and artists not to participate in Amazon sponsored events until they discontinue selling cloud storage to organizations and companies directly aiding ICE.
The night also served to raise money, by way of passing the hat, for Die Jim Crow, a record label for former and currently incarcerated musicians; a rep from the label was onhand tabling and also spoke briefly to the crowd about the mission of the project. Downtown Boys fired through an intense set of many of their best songs, and fan favorites, that was sadly over all too soon, but they came back out for a two-song encore featuring their cover of the Bruce Springsteen classic "Dancing In The Dark" to leave the sweaty and rowdy fans with something to hold them over til next time.
Check out pictures from the whole night in the gallery above.
photos by Kate Hoos