Downtown Boys — “America’s Most Exciting Punk Band”!

We already knew that, and now Rolling Stone Magazine has informed the rest of the world. It’s just possible that the Downtown Boys are about to blow up. Great for them, but it means more time away from Providence. This self-described “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party” got everybody’s attention last spring with their debut album, Full Communism. From Pitchfork,

. . . this music is saying some real shit, yeah, but it’s doing it with a completely unhinged voice. As advocates of human rights, Downtown Boys are well-versed in the history of bland protest songs. “Political music is often cheesy or boring, so no one listens to it,” DeFrancesco has said. “

And now it would seem that word of their completely unhinged live performances has gotten out. (Check out the picture at Cool Dad Music from a show last March in Brooklyn. It’s all you need to know.) David Grossman of Rolling Stone Magazine covered a recent show (at New Urban Arts, which is kinda perfect) for “Downtown Boys: Meet America’s Most Exciting Punk Band” while further elaborating on the roots and scope of their advocacy. (It’s not part of the act, it’s who they are.) Grossman sat down with singer Victoria Ruiz and guitarist Joey DeFrancesco.

An easy critique of ideologues is that they don’t dirty their pure visions with details, facts and figures. Yet here are Ruiz and DeFrancesco, eating pizza, drawing a direct line from the late Aaron Swartz’s work on the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2012 to their performances. The three met in 2010, united by the failed run for Congress by Swartz’s friend David Segal. Ruiz had just moved to Providence from California, intrigued by its arts scene and cheaper rent than New York, and had taken a job at the Renaissance Providence Hotel, where she met DeFranceso. … Ruiz quickly joined the band, and when she heard about Segal’s work for hotel workers, joined his Congressional campaign doing Spanish language outreach. She now works as a part-time organizer with the group Segal and Swartz founded together, Demand Progress.

You may remember the splash DeFranceso and the What Cheer! Brigade made with the “Joey Quits” video. Workers across the country cheered.

Segal took a strong interest in Downtown Boys — DeFrancesco refers to him as the band’s unofficial label. “I was thinking of new ideas how to harness the Internet into these organizing campaigns that Demand Progress was doing, how to take the energy he saw at our shows,” DeFrancesco says, “to channel it into what he and Aaron had been working on for so many years. I pitched the idea a year ago of making a website focused on radical artists.” That site, now known as Spark Mag (a Downtown Boys–affiliated DIY venue in Providence is named Spark City) . . .

Yes, that is our Dave Segal, co-founder of The Providence Daily Dose. Spark Mag provides an online platform for progressive artists and musicians and their campaigns.

And if you haven’t caught a Downtown Boys show, do it asap!   Never cheesy. Never boring.


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