Brooklyn Punks Kick Off 2020 Like There’s No Tomorrow

Everything about Tuesday night at Brooklyn’s The Broadway screamed, “I don’t give a fuck.”

And it was beautiful.

With dark clouds of WWIII looming over us and Australia on fire, it really feels like these moments we’re living right now could be our last. So, BLOOM, Sex Hiatus, Lackadazies and Bipolar showed us how we should keep on raging ‘til the end.

It was the first show I covered in 2020 and I felt rusty. I didn’t know how the night would wind up. But it was Jessica Gurewitz’s birthday (frontwoman of Sex Hiatus & guitar/synth for Gift) and one of the first shows with everyone back in town. So, I was mentally prepared for anything.

The show opened with Bipolar, a raw punk band who somehow managed to ignite a chaotic moshpit with a kazoo. Then followed the dark grunge trio Lackadazies. The show rats in attendance swooned to their original songs but just about exploded when they covered BOYTOY’s deep cut “Burning In Orange.” BOYTOY frontwoman Saara Untracht-Oakner happened to be standing up front, smiling from ear-to-ear.

Sex Hiatus took the stage next and were quick to admit just how unprepared they were. “We are literally making these up on the spot,” frontwoman Gurewitz told the crowd. “But it’s my birthday so I am legally allowed to get this out of my system.” Bassist Dallin Smith (Max Pain & The Groovies guitarist) didn’t even join the band until he walked into the venue, started chatting with Sex Hiatus and several minutes later he was recruited to play on stage. Before the show, Sex Hiatus guitarist TJ Freda (also in BLOOM) told me they tried to practice, but only a few minutes in decided to stop. “I was like, ‘why are we even practicing? That’s just gonna make it harder for us,’” Freda told me. “So we decided to just wing it on stage.”

And wing it they did. It was a blast seeing these songs unfold for the first time in front of my eyes. It made me feel like I was a part of the creativity. The songs somehow had a cohesive beginning and end, and each one was able to stay on their own topic—like their song about totally on purpose taking a break from sex, or their other song about being at some wife’s BBQ. Between each chorus (made up on the spot) Gurewitz riffed with some hysterical spoken word while the band jammed out punk riffs. “I’m totally taking a break from sex, but like, if somebody is interested just like meet me after the show and we can totally talk,” she jokingly shouted. “But if not, that’s it, I’m done. I’m on a sex break.”

Their set ended with a cake for Gurewitz and laughter in the air.

With everyone in good spirits, BLOOM took the stage and got the crowd bouncing for real. Since the drummer Freda and guitarist Jake Pflum were also in Sex Hiatus, they were nice and warmed up. Plus, this was the debut of their newest bassist, Kate Carretta (Animal Show bassist)—so, everyone was excited. Their combination of post-punk sound with poetic lyrics was like the final chug of the “fuck-it” Kool-Aid everyone was downing throughout the night, so nothing was held back. People moshed, jumped and fell to their knees to rage along to BLOOM.

With everyone in a carefree mood, the shots flowed like a stream the rest of the night. In the night’s spirit of “fuck-it” I decided to make an Irish goodbye. Turns out I’m horrible at that and I still said goodbye to everyone. But at least I was living my life on my own terms, just like these crazy punks were doing all night long.