Punk Island is an all ages DIY punk fest/community in NYC that is very near and dear to my heart. I say this because I worked on the fest as an organizer for nearly six years before officially retiring from active involvement earlier this year. But while I may have stepped back from organizing, I’ll never be far away and am always down to support when I can.
The PI collective has been staging a series of benefit shows to help raise funds for the 2022 fest which will be happening on 7/23 in Maria Hernandez Park and I was able to catch the tail end of the latest one held at Wonderville the dive bar venue/video arcade in Bushwick. I ran from Market Hotel (where I had just shot Bass Drum of Death) and made it just in time to see the last three song of BLK VAPOR‘s set and I am very sorry I wasn’t there for more of it. Because even in three songs, they absolutely floored me with the intense sonic wave radiating out from the stage. As I said about them in our June picks for Bandcamp Friday: “There’s a lot to BLKVAPOR’S sound—emo, punk, noise—and it all coalesces into something that is uniquely them. This Baltimore based outfit also puts on an explosive and enthralling live performance and are without a doubt a band you need to be keeping your eyes and ears on.” I for one can’t wait to see this band play again.
The show was closed out by Ratas En Zelo, long time PI supporters and family. They always put on a set that gets the whole room moving and shaking, and not one person was able to stand still, dancing and singing along to every song. It was a fitting end to a really fun night, the summer time crescendo we all needed.
Rounding out the bill were acoustic singer songwriter Jo Mercado, and electro artist Ultra Deluxe, both of whom I unfortunately missed but will be keeping on my radar for sure to catch at a later date.
I hosted numerous Punk Island benefits myself over the years and as I always said at them “Help keep DIY culture alive and thriving in NYC,” there’s no better way to do so than through events like these and the main fest itself and by donating if you have the means. DIY always has and always will be what we make of it, so be sure to keep your attention focused on this vital organization and what they are doing.
RATAS EN ZELO