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A Spontaneous Party with Hunx and His Punx

September 6th, 2011

Hunx and His Punx – Mercury Lounge – September 3, 2011

Hunx and his Punx are a flamboyant punk stab at reinventing New York Dolls, including the antifashion nightmare and nontraditional gender roles of the protopunk band. Seth Bogart, wearing giant sunglasses, had HUNX written in lipstick across his bare chest, visible under his thin pleather jacket and spandex pants. The rest of the band wore everything from turbans to glitter bow ties with leotards, like punk-rock Chippendales dancers. It’s not hard to see this as an homage to a twisted adult John Waters camp view on the naive ’50s and some kind of performance art.

Bogart’s nasal high-pitch vocals are even an update on the ’50s girl-group sound of the Ronettes or the Shangri-Las … except he’s singing about cute guys and one-night stands, backed by the incredible raspy operatic talent of Shannon Shaw from Shannon and the Clams. Whining through his set, Bogart would laughingly introduce every song: “This one is called, ‘stupid stuff,’” while breaking Mercury Lounge into three sections to see who could make more noise.

It was a spontaneous party, full of inside jokes, starring Hunx, who has a real talent for entertaining. Sure it’s an onstage persona, but it’s an honest, irreverent persona that isn’t meant to shock as much as rock. Pansy Division paved the way for queercore punk, but today’s audience isn’t here with any of those preconceived politics. They just want Hunx songs about boyfriends in their bouncy bubblegum, ’50s garage-greaser style, without the innuendo of yesteryear. Most important, Hunx and His Punx are one of those great bands that make the live show downright fun even if you’ve never heard a single song. —Jason Dean