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PWR BTTM delivers queer punk to Gardner

Gardner – Sno Zhao
Gardner - Sno Zhao
Crowds from Grinnell and beyond flocked to Gardner to watch PWR BTTM perform. Photo by Sno Zhao.

Luke Jarzyna

This past Wednesday night, the self-identified queer punk duo PWR BTTM performed in Gardner Lounge. Despite it being a blustery winter weeknight, PWR BTTM delivered a rousing performance to a packed crowd. Grinnell students clearly had no issue with taking a night (or at least a few hours) off from their mid-week grind to hear PWR BTTM’s vibrant and noisy yet vulnerable take on punk rock. Several clusters of people from Des Moines even made it to the show.

This large turnout was no surprise for many, as PWR BTTM’s following has skyrocketed over the past year. Their 2015 debut album, “Ugly Cherries,” brought the band multiple tours, as well as spots on many critics’ year-end lists (and many plays on my personal Spotify account). Most recently, they were featured in a Rolling Stone article about the future of rock music.

PWR BTTM occupies a unique role as passionate arbiters of queer politics and inclusivity. Beyond their lyrics, which almost always play with topics of gender and sexuality, both members require every venue they visit to provide gender neutral bathrooms to audience members during their performances. Additionally, lead singer, Ben, issued a command for Gardner to be a safe space for all people and body types before their set began, met with applause.

Alien Girls, a four-piece group comprised of Grinnell students Ernie Nanetti-Palacios ’17, Josie Sloyan ’18, Vera Kahn ’18 and Ella Williams ’19 opened for PWR BTTM. Despite being only their third performance, they commanded the stage and delivered a solid set of original songs primed for dancing.

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