Punk, the lost music in Tucson
Punk band Starving Wolves ends their set setting the way for Dayglo Abortions to take the stage. "I'm so glad to be touring with Dayglo and for them to have taken us under their wing," said David before the end of their set.
Daily Wildcat Photographer Steven Spooner writes on his experience covering a punk show in Tucson.
It’s been a while since I’d been to a punk show in Tucson. The Rat Trap got shut down, and Skrappy’s hasn’t done anything since 2016. So when I finally heard about a bar hosting Dayglo Abortions, I couldn’t pass it up.
In front of the venue, House of Bards, was a white van, pulling a small two-wheel trailer behind it. There, among the familiar sight of big, colored hair, were people unloading band equipment.
There was a sign saying to enter from the north entrance, but I was already on the south and the door was open for gear to be brought it, so I walked in.
No one yelled at me, or even looked twice. It was a good feeling to be able to roam around freely and take pictures. No strict security was watching me, forcing me to stand in a certain place for a certain number of songs.
I asked Alice Noiret, the bar manager, where punk is being played these days.
“We’re kinda the only one going on now,” she said.
She introduced me to John Bujak, the owner. He was middle-aged with long, blond hair and a band T-shirt on. John was polite and open with me about photographing the show. He struck me as someone who genuinely cares about the music he hosts at the venue.
"I don't know what happened [to the punk scene in Tucson], if it had to do with the remodeling downtown,” John said. "They just don't want it down there anymore; that’s just what I saw."
In conjunction with the bar is a music shop just next to it, which John also owns.
The show was well done as far as punk shows go. The music was loud, players were yelling at the audience and the crowd was moshing and screaming right back.
What stood out about the show, and this isn’t uncommon for punk, is how much the whole scene cared for itself. The bands in the lineup were usually right up front losing it during the playing band’s set.
I saw one of the singers for the local punk band Upstart 33 hugging the lead singer of Starving Wolves while both of them yelled the lyrics. The other singer was moshing behind him.
While you feel the music reverberating off your chest and you’re sweating from being so close to a bunch of weirdos with bad haircuts and spiked clothing, what you leave with is an overwhelming sense of belonging.
For me, this feeling came during the chorus of Starving Wolves’ "We Are One":
"We are one in opposition with everyone. The threat of violence on every shore."
Follow Steven Spooner on Instagram