The past few years have seen queer culture take a huge leap into the spotlight through all kinds of artistic means. PWR BTTM perfectly typifies this trend’s presence in music. Formed at Bard College in New York, PWR BTTM is the dynamic DIY duo of Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins. The two take turns playing drums, guitar and singing while clad in various out of the ordinary outfits and makeup. Their sound sticks close to the band’s queercore rock roots, with short songs featuring punchy lyrics.
Their show at Mr. Small’s on April 12 perfectly highlighted PWR BTTM’s quirky queerness. During their soundcheck, both Ben and Liv were dressed in dark street clothes, a stark contrast to what they wore when they came out to preform. Normally clothing choices of a musician don't deserve to be covered in detail, but normally musicians don't come onstage wearing just boxers and an inflatable deer, like Ben did. The deer set the tone for the entire set, complete with church-related jokes highlighting the conflict between religion and queer culture, and a reminder that PWR BTTM shows are safe places for everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality or interests.
Overall, PWR BTTM boasts candid lyrics that make them stand out from the rest of the noise in the queercore genre, while their music mostly blends in, with the exception of some surprisingly impressive guitar tapping towards the end of their set. Most importantly, the band’s entertaining stage presence and interesting clothing choices – like the inflatable deer taped to Ben’s body - will continue to set PWR BTTM apart as their career helps bring queercore music a little closer to the mainstream.