Downtown Boys (photo: Aaron Rubin)
I had been waiting for this moment for years due to being too depressed, sick, poor, to ever catch Downtown Boys before. There are so many reasons why I could not miss them this time around, mainly being that I finally had the energy and resources. Downtown Boys are one of the most important current bands, because every performance is curated to what is going on in the world right now (which is what has been going on in the world forever). They are not going to keep quiet to keep their white fans happy.
The opening lineup was also the reason I chose this show instead of the Oakland one two days later. Even though both showcased local talent that you should know about, the Bottom of the Hill show had Pumpkin, a band I’ve been dedicated to since I first saw them live. I was excited to see two Chicanas who have been majorly affected by Downtown Boys take the stage before one of their favorite bands. Pumpkin shared a new song that will be on The Grey Estates comp, Sugar Rush.
Blues Lawyer was exactly I would have expected from members of the World, Mall Walk, and Preening, meaning it was really catchy, well put together, fun. And really, if you sing a song about being mentally unstable, I am going to be obsessed with your band.
Downtown Boys was everything I needed to see live. I needed to scream along, especially to Selena — they sang a punk version of Selena’s “Fotos Y Recuerdos.” That was the moment I let loose of all that was keeping me back, and I felt at home in my hometown for the first time in weeks. I stood next to Victoria Ruiz’s family at the show, she included them in their set every bit she could. She sang for them, and because of them. The energy that they brought upon that stage and shared among the crowd is one that is necessary in a time when so many of us don’t know what to do with excess anxiety. Downtown Boys dropped the answer upon us, like the Ice Bucket Challenge on the hottest day of the year: stop being complacent, get out there, be loud, let the people who hold the power listen and actually use that power for good. Protect those with less power than you, and be as active as your privilege allows.