It doesn’t need to be stated that punk can be queer- it has been- for years and years, and it’s only a narrow understanding of punk and its appearance that would lead one to think otherwise. Punk has never just been straight, male or white. Punk, like Jesus, has been given a strange face that doesn’t really look at all true-to-life.
By this I mean, however, a more conceptual sort of punk. And that is worth noting, because Dreamcrusher isn’t really punk in any conventional sense. In term of genre, they probably fall closer to industrial or electronic. But Dreamcrusher is an artist with a particular strength in performance, and it is in this performance that their punk is most apparent.
At a odd, kind of stuffy moment for venues, Dreamcrusher manages something close to real danger. Being at a Dreamcrusher show will involve grabbing, pulling, confrontation and uncomfortable eye contact. Knocking over, stuffed-to-the-gills spaces, devotees or nervous folks who thought they just be seeing someone tool around with a synthesizer.
It could be misconstrued if I were to say that Dreamcrusher doesn’t give a fuck; they’ve been making music for ages- they are a consummate professional- a hard worker and energetic presence. For as long as their name has been on bills, they have magnetized crowds. But their aura, from music to performance, is something unapologetic, something cynical. When when you come face-to-face with Dreamcrusher at a show you don’t see a look that says, is this OK, isn’t this fun?
It’s not that Dreamcrusher is against you, but they don’t seems to feel as if they owe you anything, either. To intellectualize it may lead one to see it all as a sharply contained rage. To see the trancelike state as meditative – a real practice. As such, a focus on Dreamcrusher’s performativity isn’t a denial of their musicality. Moreso it enters them into the class of underground artists who have toggled with the capacity of performance, art and music to carve out something new- not genre but mood. Acts like EARTHEATER and Dog also achieve a kind of extreme impressionism to accompany their sound.
Every experience I have had with Dreamcrusher has felt momentous. I am pulled into my body, the space, the feeling of being inundated- by noise, by people.They make a point of entering the crowd, forcing movement and breaking down the wall of musician in the attendee. But the energy is different than what you get with hardline punk, in part because it’s not so genre-adherent. Because it’s for a new, progressive wave of music, which has an inborn sensitivity to issues of identity and belonging. It’s not rowdiness for rowdiness’s sake- rather a sort of group catharsis. An exegesis that makes the underground feel very much alive.
Keep an eye out for their upcoming release, due this month on Corpus, as well as their performance at the year’s Hassle Fest.