The elevator pitch for the revolutionary Rhode Island punk band, who play Gasa Gasa on Thursday.
Who: Downtown Boys, with Special Interest opening
What: Sax-infused DIY punk.
When: Thursday, September 7, 9 p.m.
Where: Gasa Gasa, 4920 Freret St.
Why: Most Americans don’t like what’s going on in our government today, but few disapprove as loudly or effectively as Downtown Boys. Before founding the group, Victoria Ruiz (vocals) and Joey De Francisco (guitar) were activists in Providence, Rhode Island, working at a luxury hotel to make ends meet. Fed up with the mistreatment of hotel staff, they quit, and Downtown Boys were born in earnest. Six years later, they’re fresh off their third full length album, Cost of Living (Sub Pop), and just about as hot as a punk band can be in 2017.
Downtown Boys’ sound is characterized by Ruiz’ forceful bilingual shout, De Francisco’s persistent power chords, core member Norlan Olivo’s manic drumming, and plenty of screeching sax. They dropped one of their horns for Cost of Living and added in some keys, but their message is still just as powerful, and even more urgent.
“A Wall,” the album’s lead single, was written as a wake-up call when Trump was still fleshing out his xenophobic campaign strategy. Now, just days after his devastating decision to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), it plays more like a cry for help. It’s time to listen, take action, and come out to support the revolution this Thursday at Gasa Gasa.
Downtown Boys’ opening act, Special Interest, is brand new and has virtually no Internet presence, but they’re even louder than their headliners and certainly just as angry. This April, their lead singer snarled “Hello, white America” before launching into a frantically noisy set in an out-of-way corner of the Music Box. Be sure to make it to Gasa Gasa at 9 and check them out.