You don’t have to be macho to be punk as all hell. Beat Happening proved it with their twee performances in the ’80s, Pansy Division restated it with their LGBT power-pop in the ’90s and now the glitter-covered duo PWR BTTM are teaching that lesson again in the ’10s. The self-described queer punks from Brooklyn had their show in Jackson, Mississippi on November 16 picketed by anti-gay protesters, and their response was textbook punk.
“We haven’t ever received threats, but I have a feeling this isn’t the last time this will happen,” guitarist Ben Hopkins told SPIN. “It won’t deter us, nothing will.”
Along with the help of the venue and fans, the band did everything they could to minimize the effect of the protesters. They moved the entrance to the venue to the back, away from the anti-gay protest and blocked out the windows along the front of the venue.
Hopkins said that the protesters were wearing body cameras and attempting to bait the band and its fans into assaulting them.
“They were like baiting us to hit them, they wanted to be able to sue us,” Hopkins said. “Like they’re not Christians, they’re crooks. I grew up with so many amazing kind Christian folks, and it’s important not to even give these men the dignity of that title. They’re fucking con artists in tacky outfits.”
Big Sleepy’s — the venue in question — apologized to any fans who felt unsafe at the show in a post to their Facebook.
“Incredibly sorry for anyone who felt threatened or unsafe tonight during the show or at any point by the Christian hate group outside. A huge thank you to everyone who went to bat for minorities, whether by confronting the protesters or by shielding the windows and doors from them. PWR BTTM was one of the best sets we’ve had come through here and the absolute best people. Thanks again for supporting us all this time. We love you.”
PWR BTTM have been a lesson in perseverance for the last week. They’ve continued to tour in spite of having their van and all of their gear stolen a week ago. The band launched a crowdfunding campaign to replace their stolen items and kept it moving. This is one in a series of many hateful acts toward LGBT, Muslims, Mexicans, African-Americans and immigrants since Trump was elected president.