Hunx & His Punx Roll Sweat at SXSW
Hunx & His Punx played a free Trailer Space show during SXSW 2011.
By B.E. Wiest,
12:04PM, Fri. Mar. 25, 2011
Biking though, then past the central density of SXSW, I think to myself ‘I really need a helmet.’ Wind ripping at my bike’s balance, I rode quickly through thick traffic south then east. I ran into a friend who tells me the Hunx & His Punx show is running two hours late. Trailer Space, she told me, was packed, and hot.
She mentioned nothing of the post-apocalyptic scene that I found there when I arrived. Two parking lots strewn with people who sort of hung in space, colorless, with dead energy: Was I in the right place? This wasn’t the gayest crowd. Were the streetlights messed up? Everyone looked grey. In one area people sat, strewn across a lawn in front of a boarded-up house. Empty water bottles and smashed cans littered between them. No palpable urgency could be felt and it was only 12:30 a.m., I wondered if the show had been canceled.
I waded through a dense cluster of people around the entrance and found my way in. Surprisingly, there was space inside to move. The certain look of aftermath was gone; an energetic air filled the room. Life was in color again. I moved toward the stage where people had filled up the aisle-ways between crates of merchandise, CDs, and records that seemed in their usual places. After a few seconds the heat caught up with me, giving the scene outside a slightly improved significance. Then I heard drums rolling. I made my way towards the wall, unable to see Hunx or his Punx.
The room darkened more and Seth Bogart, Hunx, started singing beauty parlor Sixties pop, and the show was on. I climbed up onto a wooden bin along the wall that held merchandise, VHS tapes I couldn’t avoid stepping on. As I was pulling my second leg up, I felt large hands around my waist. I was being removed I thought, by a rather helpful security guy. Turned out he was just someone helping to lift me up. It took me a minute to make-out Hunx (Seth of Gravy Train) who was wearing some sheer ‘nude’ colored accessory over mostly bare skin. The beat went up, and I inched my way forward stepping along the bin, four feet or so off the floor.
I wedged myself into a position, with one foot on a narrow window ledge and the other balanced on the bin’s edge, trying not to smash the merch underfoot. I could see just over the PA stacks that I leaned against for support. My view looking down over the crowd blocked out one of the Punx entirely, the other I could see. Her blonde bouffant updo pretty much symbolizes the combination of camp and lusciousness that the band is about. Lighthearted, playful, upbeat, and sexy make the music easily infectious, boppable. The crowd couldn’t help but dance. Hunx, though, was sort of writhing up and down the walls. He’d disappear into darkness and then I’d see him crouched atop a speaker like a gargoyle, if not for the queer revelry, and that dawn of sexuality feeling he flares like easy sport. The lingerie wasn’t especially gargoyle either.
I was trying to snap photos, in the dark, unlit room, save for a light fixture on the ceiling that maybe someone flicked off and on every now and then. The show lighting amounted to outside streetlights glinting off some 200 sweating faces, and a camera flash here and there. This wasn’t a showcase. It was a dark, sweat-roll of fun; the exhilaration ticket price can’t guarantee with adolescent fervor that only certain bands can hoist you into. I realized what I good spot I had when the crowd started dancing, a mass that almost squeezed the band off the corner stage. “I wanna jump,” Hunx announced sweetly over the mic. More than enough hands went up and passed his long narrow body around the space that I was unsuccessfully photographing with three variations of bad flash options. Hunx image was hard to capture. Sheer polyester rarely seems innocuous. Whether it covers someone’s face in a horror flick, or with Hunx, stretches blurry focus over a queer sexuality that has no problem scaling walls, surfing strange hands, and announcing, in order of preference, his favorite pills through the mic at the end of the night.
Certainly Hunx wears it well, and to our glorious benefit, he and the Punx pump joyousness into the oddest places. Recommended.