Punk Rock, is one of my least favorite topics to talk about when it comes to music. Stating any sort of opinion or claiming you like a particular punk band in a crowed room or bar always seems to bring out at least a few grunts and moans. Saying “man, I really think this is a pretty good modern punk band. Really sounds great,” will get you a comment like “It’s been done before by a lot better bands. You don’t know what punk is. Put on some Dead Kennedys”. Or if you’re bold enough to say, “This such and such band really embodies the essence of what Punk is,” you will hear, “No! this is Bubble Gum Punk; real Punk is the soundtrack of revolutions. This such and such band is bullshit,” by one person and then someone else will chime in with “No! Punk is just a life style and has nothing to do with politics; it’s a way of thinking and has nothing really to do with music”.
That being said I love Punk music and maybe I have no idea what real Punk is and maybe I will never know why talking about Punk brings out the asshole scholar in a lot of people, especially in ratio to other genres of music, but I still love what I consider to be Punk Rock: fast and loud, angry, self destructive, fun, and beautiful and I think that yes!, even today if you look deep enough in the cracks you can still find really good Punk bands like finding a one dollar bill in your couch. No need for alarm people, Punk Rock is not in the same historical grave along with the dinosaurs.
That brings me to The Gooch Palms and the great show I got a taste of this year during SXSW 2015. I saw the Gooch Palms on day seven or eight of SXSW. It was sometime around noon and my brain was swollen two sizes too big from the night before, as it was most mornings at SXSW. Walking down the street and into a tent that had been set across from the Convention Center for the Australian music showcase, this is where I found the Gooch Palms.
Unfortunately, the set had already started so I missed the beginning, but still what I did get to see was great. It was exactly the kind of band to help me shake my hangover. The Gooch Palms were there to help put my brain back in my skull with some fantastic Punk music. Thank you for that, Gooch Palms.
The first thing I noticed about the band was the attire of Kat Friend (Drums, Vocals) and Leroy Macqueen (Guitar, Vocals). They were dressed in some sort of superhero get up in the style that Superman has for his uniform, except Macqueen wore very short, shorts and had a mullet which I think is unlike Superman if I recall correctly; but Macqueen pulled off those short, shorts with grace and sexy vigor. I remember thinking, “Josh, be professional and stop looking at that man’s crotch, even if he keeps drawing attention to it by spitting on it like he is trying to lube up his dick so he can ear fuck the crowd”. But it was not just the uniforms that grabbed my attention, it was also the band’s stage presence with an over the top sarcastic enthusiasm to complement the music. Every time a song would finish, they would both throw their arms up in the air with giant smiles on their faces and a look that said, “I did good! I did good!” It was something you would see a couple’s Olympic team do after finishing some big dance move but instead of Olympic style dancing The Gooch Palms had just finished a song about how it would be nice to have a cheeseburger when you’re hungry.
It was great Punk music that was accompanied by some sort of theater act. It was perhaps Punk music that you could say sounds just like the Ramones or some other classic Punk Band and I would say, “Maybe you’re right, but shut up you fucking purest, enjoy the music, and watch that guy spit on his crotch some more.” I promise you that if you get your head out of your ass and just experience The Gooch Palms with an open mind, no matter what kind of Punk fan you are, then you will have a hell of a time with a band that was my biggest surprise band of SXSW 2015.
Written by Josh Davis. Photos by Bethany Smith