Watch How the Punk Scene Pledged their undying support for Orlando
This past Friday, and less than a week following the attack on an Orlando LGBTQ nightclub, gender-queer garage punk duo PWR BTTM stopped off in Orlando, FL at the DIY music venue Back Booth for their joint summer tour with fellow shoegazing punk rockers Pity Sex and Petal.
Immediately following the attack last Sunday, the playfully dressed and glitter adorned pair announced on Facebook that 100 percent of the proceeds from their Orlando show will be donated to the Pulse Tragedy Community Fund, a GoFundMe established to aid the families of those directly affected by the unthinkable massacre, which took place only a few blocks away from the venue space.”Queer is Invincible,” the band wrote in the post. “We will never let them stop us from coming together.”
At the show, PWR BTTM’s Liv Bruce and Benjamin Hopkins took a moment out of their set to voice an incredibly uplifting message on the brutal attack as well as perform an achingly beautiful rendition of E.Y. Harburg’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”—a symbol of queer identity and safety for them and many others.
“Ever since Sunday of last week, we’ve been adding this cover to our set, and every night at our shows we dedicate it to people affected by what happened at Pulse,” Bruce told the crowd of the Harburg cover. “We usually go on some sort of speech about that, but I feel like there’s nothing I can say to you that you haven’t heard already. So I’m just going to play it. All I want to say is that, to me, this song has always been about queer space and being surrounded by people who understand you. And that’s what I feel tonight.”
As the duo began playing, the room fell silent, as if collectively reflecting on the terrorist act that stole the lives of so many queers for simply living their lives, unafraid and proud. “The strangest thing was how normal the show felt,” Bruce told us after the set. “Everyone just wanted to hear some music, laugh, dance and be in a queer space. It was a pleasure to give them that.”
And PWR BTTM’s efforts don’t end there either. Since news broke of the tragedy, the gender-blurring duo released “Because My Body,” a quiet tune and one among 48 others on a mixtape compilation titled Forever Beautiful. The mixtape acts as a love letter, of sorts, to the Orlando community—and the punk scene’s way of showing their support for the LGBTQ community.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on Orlando activism.