There’s always time for self care and a great punk show will never not do the trick for me. Thankfully Dog Date, Venus Twins, and Flexi were on deck to give me just that when they hit up Union Pool for a rollicking show that definitely hit the spot in the middle of a busy time for me, the perfect self care oasis I needed.
When I arrived the show was already in progress (a punk show start early?! What?!) and while it is unlike me to get to a show late, I think in this case I accidentally misread the time and then parking was a bit difficult. Fortunately for me though, Flexi still had several songs in their set left and I didn’t have to miss all of it. I had not been familiar with the band or their music before the show so I went in with fresh ears and loved what I was hearing. Urgent with driving staccato basslines paired with wild guitar, it sounded like the best of 80s post punk with the sharp attack of political punk, and it might just be the soundtrack to the impending apocalypse—in other words it was right up my alley. I’m really hoping to get out to see them play again soon so I can see a full set. After the show I took some time to dig into their latest release, Nothing, a seven song EP that was released in March. I think it’s safe to say it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite releases of the year so far.
Venus Twins are one of my favorite noise punk bands, and readers may already know that I love bass/drums punk bands more than just about any other configuration/style of band. They are back in NYC full time now, after having spent some time in their home state of Texas during the pandemic. While I missed seeing them more often, they spent that time away writing and are back with a set that is better than ever with plenty of new material, much of which will (hopefully) be on their forthcoming album. Their sets are always electric blasts of energy, with the band feeding off of each other and the crowd, bassist Matt Derting often going in and out of the audience during the show. They cheekily came out to “Venus” the 1968 classic by Shocking Blue, which was met with quite a few chuckles. And you know what? I love good entry music and wish more bands would do this, for real!
Venus Twins at Union Pool
And now, I have a challenge for you which is trying to stay still during a Dog Date set. But that’s a silly challenge because I know you can’t do it! But neither can I so it’s all good. One of the most fun and high energy bands playing shows in NYC right now (and I’m willing to bet anywhere else), I always love a chance to get out to one of their sets. Double drums pounding, double fuzzed out guitars, buzzsaw bass and hyper vocals all going at once, you can’t help but get caught up in their power pop garage punk chaos. They played a relentless set, song after catchy song, everyone in the room getting sweaty in the process and loving it. At the conclusion of the set, even though they had played for quite a while I thought “oh wait that’s all?” having lost myself in the frenzy, totally down to keep it going. But it was indeed it and that was as they say, that. This band never disappoints though so instead of being bummed it was over, I savored the time I got to spend with them and blasted their tunes in the car on the way home, ready for the next time!
The band kicked off a tour not long after this show, hitting the midwest and other parts of the east coast, also releasing a live tape that was recorded at this show special for the tour. They haven’t announced their next NYC shows yet, but you can be sure I’ll be on the lookout and ready to be there for all the action.
Dog Date at Union Pool
Unfortunately after the show was over, fire struck the building early the next morning, injuring 14 people, damaging the venue and destroying the deli next door. No one was killed but it was still a very shitty and scary turn of events. The venue is working to recover and has been updating their Instagram with progress reports, but as of this writing it remains closed on order of the city. All of us at FTA love Union Pool and are very much hoping they make a quick and safe comeback.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)