‘May Day’ Punk Matinee at Tompkins Square Park [PHOTOS]
Last Sunday was the May Day punk matinee at Tompkins Square Park. Alphabet City denizen and photographer Destiny Mata and Joe Richie were both in attendance. They sent in the following dispatch.
On April 29, the punx had their May Day, in the great tradition of Tompkins Square Park Sunday Matinees. Keeping with the spirit of the International Worker’s day, which commemorates the police murder of Anarchist labor activists in Haymarket Square Chicago during the 19th century, the NYC Hardcore Punk scene put forth some of their most politically focused bands.
The park has been a center for radicalism and revolution since the early 19th century, and has been a crucial space for the Anarcho-Punk and Hardcore movements since the mid-1980s when the last Squatter’s Rights riots occurred. During those days, there was a community that lived in the park and in Alphabet City and LES’s abandoned buildings. The vibe centered around bands like Reagan Youth, Nausea, Missing Foundation, as well as the original crews of NYHC.
This year’s show was organized by the classic Lower East Side anarchist newspaper The Shadow and booked by Jose Luis Rabioso, whose band Rabia played the park in the 2000s during the Street Punk era, and more recently with Dischaka during the height of the Hardcore Punk scene’s obsession with d-beat. One of those shows in 2005 where the former band played a show that was so well attended that the police were afraid to enter the premises. Gentrification may be hiding the true revolutionary history and potential, but this city’s anarchist and punk community was there this past May Day to reclaim the the roots of our movements. They may displace us but they can’t shake OUR FOUNDATIONS!
With Anarchist Hardcore Anthems and lyrics about indigenous land struggle and the realities of living under 500 years of colonial rule, Junta predicts Western Civilization’s imminent downfall in the war of its own making. This band has worked to bridge the gaps in our city’s scene, which is often divided by geography, class, and access. They started the day off with the apt refrain, “POLICIA NO ME JODAS!”
Olor a Muerte
The despair, disillusionment, and depression that grow from being trapped in the ruins of humanity’s folly form the potent darkness summoned from this surging goth dbeat hardcore band. Singer Analĺa Rip’s voice reverberates throughout the crowd as she tells us what she thinks about the supposedly evolved human race: “Basura! Porqueria!”
This trio of incomparably well researched musicians capture the original spirit of ’80s UK Punk and Scandanavian Dbeat better than any other Native New Yorkers I know. It’s powerful music executed with the progressive speed and aggression that makes you just wanna grab the spikey vest in front of you and pogo your ass outta this fuckin’ place.
With a focus on the forbidden and illegal aspects of having a body, Rubber articulates the agonies of being queer in a society that hates divergent identities. The music asserts a place for itself with a hardcore sound more reminiscent of the darkness and snotiness of goth youth culture.
With pulsing, circle pit inducing hardcore rhythms that conjure tones of both light and darkness, Haram challenged the police not just with hits like “American Police” but singer Nader Haram, who has been harassed by the Joint Terrorism Task Force just for daring to sing in Arabic, verbally challenged the officers to think outside their limited perspective about who the real terrorists are. The Yonker’s native had a real heart to heart with the officers present about how the system they support is pure violence, exploitation, and racism, roasting their asses like only a real New Yorker knows how to.