Punk is More than Callouses
Written by Kyle Nutter
Photographs by Rick Perez
(All opinions and subliminal messaging portrayed in this article are entirely the author’s. They do not represent Grim Streaker or its members’ viewpoints.)
Grim Streaker played their fifth show ever at Alphaville in Brooklyn for their first single release. They played the same day as the Women’s March. There isn’t any correlation between these two events. However, I bring up it up because they are both examples of resolving tension.
The members of Grim Streaker needed an outlet. The quintet came from other bands that had evolved into a strict hierarchical structure. A musical dictator that becomes the band, demoting the rest to performers. Looking to realize their actual desires, they formed a punk band. They immediately clicked, creating their first song in a sitting, and unanimously felt good about playing together. The excitement from playing new music fired them up. Everyone had an equal part in the band, feeding off each others’ energy. The epitome of a group project. As a result they outplay each other in friendly competition. Holistic collaboration has sprung Grim Streaker off on the right foot and coaxed out very good punk music. The democratizing of music allows each band member to contribute equally, having a large of pool of ideas to pull the best from. First thoughts are of lower caliber than last thoughts. The latter has all that has come before it to inform a better melody, riff, beat, whatever.
Their comfortability with each other extends onto the stage. They put on a great show. I was told that sometimes people don’t connect with a band because of the singer. Amelia, vocals, magnetizes. Her energy is contagious and livens the whole performance. Grim Streaker won’t have any problem connecting with audiences.
When asked what Grim Streaker wanted their audience to get from their music, they countered with what they want their audience to lose through their music: unwanted emotions. Amelia looked lost during the performance, but not like confused or naive. On the other hand, she looked empowered. The world can be a terrible place that can be softened with screams and feet stomping. One can get lost in the layers of Grim Streaker’s 8 songs, and when you untangle yourself from it be sure to leave what you don’t want in there. Their music makes you want to follow the band’s lead and move with them. And movement releases tension. It tires you and with your energy takes frustration. In other words, Grim Streaker offers a cathartic experience.
Similarly, protesting is a cathartic release. There’s a platform for frustration. The Women’s March on Washington was a direct reaction to an election that created frustration in millions of people. The protest shouted to all that opaque and uninformed hierarchy does not solve problems and reminded that everyone has a voice in democracy. Out-of-touch hierarchy, whether in music, politics, or business, does not work. Punk and protest have always gone hand in hand.
When you feel something inexpressible, positive or negative, you have Grim Streaker’s music to turn to. A cathartic channel waits between the musical layers. Remarkable for a brand new band. But when things click, sometimes they lock. Hopefully, they’ll stay on equal footing and not dissolve, like so many bands, into an unrepresentative state. One thing I truly know is I felt better after Grim Streaker’s set.