The Hi Hat Cancels Moniker-Offensive Black Pussy, The Redwood Bar Hosts Them, Tuesday February 6th 2018

Written by | February 8, 2018 2:54 am | 5 responses

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Black Pussy

 

Last night, the LA music local scene looked a bit weird, and it wasn’t because of the musicians. Portland band Black Pussy, whose moniker sounds like a bad X-rated movie made in the San Fernando Valley, was supposed to play at the Hi Hat with a few other bands, but the show never happened. The Highland club had to cancel the show under the pressure of a mountain of threats of all sorts, mostly posted on the Facebook page of the event.

The band posted the following on their page, as soon as the cancellation was made public:

‘It’s important to contextualize why it was cancelled. The venue and promoter received threats like this one and the Hi Hat decided to cave. It’s an unfortunate precedent, which has been set before, that a determined minority gets to decide what is and is not appropriate for adults to expose themselves to. If this were done by our government, people would yell tyranny. But self censorship is even more dangerous.

Be good to each other out there!’

Some of the threats were beyond ridiculous and full of violent imagery such as ‘me and my crew are going to throw pig’s blood all over the bands, the staff and the venue. They need to know that racism and sexism has consequences!’ and the club was caught between the politically correct police, their radical censorship and badass rock ‘n’ roll. Meanwhile, you could read this on Black Pussy’s page:

‘Black Pussy DOES NOT condone or endorse any sexism, racism, ageism, violence, or any other douchebaggery that has been spoiling the party since the party started. If you are offended by the band’s name, please refer to the following…
followed by a Andy Gill quote:
“It’s a little ridiculous to ban bands for their name. We can all think of dozens of bands with really quite offensive names and as soon as you get into being the guardian of public morality, taking it upon yourself to decide what’s OK and what is not, you are acting in an illiberal, undemocratic, and anti-progressive way. People should be treated as grown ups, capable of making their own decisions. We should not be deciding for people what we think they are capable of understanding or not. Artists, film-makers, writers, musicians need to be un-censored so they can make their point, political or otherwise.’

The show got relocated at the Redwood bar downtown LA, minus a few bands on the bill, who didn’t want to be associated to the controversy – and I won’t blame them. But I was wondering about the security of the staff and crowd over there? Were these threats really serious? If they cancelled the show, they had to be, right? I ventured downtown, and I didn’t know what to expect, a line of protest in front of the club? Pig blood thrown at our faces, Brian de Palma-style? Nah! Nothing, absolutely nobody there to protest and scream at the faces of the Black Pussy’s members, who probably performed one of the most peaceful rock ‘n’ roll shows of the night, in front of a crowd of true fans, decided to support the band and mock the PC police. These haters, who accused the band of the worst sexism racism, turned out to be the social justice warriors type, keyboard warriors who are always avoiding real confrontation in real life while putting a lot of guilt and pressure on a cool little venue run by a young woman.

So who are these Black Pussy people? Are they the racist sexist white men they are accused of? They are certainly white dudes, trying to emulate a psychedelic rock of the 70s and even wearing their parents’ wardrobes, but I haven’t found any trace of rudeness when they played at the Redwood. Of course they have picked an offensive moniker, and they are allegedly named after the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Brown Sugar’, but there are different versions of the origin of the name. A petition on Change-org, which is asking for Black Pussy to change their name and venues to boycott them, is even claiming they are racists based on the fact they have picked their moniker because ‘it encapsulates exactly what the band is, a psychedelic, ’70s-influenced, hide-your-daughters-because-they’re-coming-to-town rock ‘n’ roll band that sounds like Tarantino directing a Thin Lizzy video in the low desert.’

The entire controversy sounds ridiculous on both accounts, it’s ridiculous for people to react in such a radical way for a bad moniker, and it’s ridiculous for bands to think they can get away with such an offensive name. This is obviously not the first time Black Pussy had to cancel a show, it has actually happened a lot, but they stubbornly don’t want to change it. ‘I’m not going to change the name because I’m afraid it’ll hurt my project,’ has said frontman Dustin Hill to the Willamette Week, ‘I’ve committed to it, because that’s what artists do: They commit to an idea. It’s not about trying to be successful or trying to make money, it’s about the idea. We build on the idea, and if it fails, it fails. But I’m not going to change it because a tiny percentage of the population has an issue with it.’

Lujuria, a rock band from Argentina had joined the night, I am not sure if they were aware of the controversy, probably, but if they were, they didn’t seem to care for a minute, playing a distorted head-banging rock metal with a song called ‘Lucifer’. Then Electric Children, led by Eddie Lopez, the man behind the booking of the Redwood, gave us another rocking set with a few grungy guitars and then it was time for Black Pussy, who started their set with a ‘you can’t stop rock n’ roll’. What followed was surely pure rock ‘n’ roll, a psychedelic boogie unapologetic piece of rock with a love for the 70s and stoner rock, with the addition of a keyboard to make their sound fuller. At the end, they sounded very classic ’70s garage/desert rock, and the band with fuzzy funky guitars, loud drumming and reverb vocals sounded quite inoffensive with its status of  most controversial bands of the United States. And when I thought that frontman Dustin Hill, with his moustache and white suit had a sort of Jesse Hughes resemblance, I was not surprised that the frontman of Eagles of Death Metal, aka Boots Electric, was also on the bill (he is friends with the band). He ended the night with a stripped down set of bluesy and classic rock songs in alternance with some of his own repertoire, just accompanied by his guitar and homemade beats coming from his iPod. Jesse, who is always happy to be at the center of any controversy, joked about pig’s blood, and played his usual, although more low-key, father-badass character, flirting with the ladies (or the opposite) asking for crowd participation and hugging a few people in the crowd. With a childhood friend who showed up, it was a rather intimate and familial show, and I wondered where the controversy had suddenly gone.

Once home, I was re-reading a message sent to the Hi Hat, which, among threats to boycott the Hi Hat, was reading: ‘It seems the booking manager isn’t prioritizing the safety and outcry of their (mostly non-white) community’) As much as I think that Black Pussy is a bad moniker, these people are out of their minds. ‘Everyone in this room didn’t let the bad guys win! Fuck the bad guys’, said Hughes with his usual assurance, and he got the approval from everyone in the room.

More pictures here

Lujuria

Electric Children

Boots Eclectric

Black Pussy

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5 Responses to “The Hi Hat Cancels Moniker-Offensive Black Pussy, The Redwood Bar Hosts Them, Tuesday February 6th 2018”

  1. Nathanial

    Cheers to The Redwood Bar and it’s staff for supporting independent music and staying string through tuff times! The Redwood Bar is hands down the best venue in all of LA!

    Reply
  2. GlenW

    Sounds about right. Black Pussy is a great band with good songs, put on a very good show, but insist on keeping a foolish name. Maybe more statements from the article can be put front and center where protests and threats occur.

    Reply
  3. K.B.

    I know the bass player…he and I almost died by way of a Pepsi truck in Japan….true fucking story

    Reply

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