HEY ARMCHAIR MUSIC ELITISTS – I am officially calling you out. All you jaded and cynical rockists, you victims of baby-boomer-brainwashing who seek enlightenment by claiming originality is dead while incongruously claiming that the x-y-z thing is the only real music, you sickeningly superior and self-consciously narrow-minded hobbyists who equate lashing out against the passage of time with righteous and romantic resistance, who still think Woodstock meant shit all and try to pretend like the 80s never happened except for Springsteen and Dire Straits, your bullshit is about to be officially invalidated by what I am about to show you.
Okay, but seriously, I just saw Olympia, WA’s Hot Fruit on tour last weekend and it was a like a very small and discrete revelation. The performance itself veered wildly between coy and confrontational – fists in the air, smiling eyes witheringly askance, spontaneous dance moves sensual but self-contained; their meticulously crafted self-presentation never actually presenting themselves as the subjects of their dystopian satires, nor as the objects of their audience’s lazy desire. The spirit of Pac-NW feminist punk is alive Hot Fruit, angrily but slily blasting gender stereotypes and skewed power dynamics within relationships, constructed identities that refuse the crutch of compromise and repressive, patriarchal notions of female sexuality, forcing the audience to confront the identities they’ve chosen and refusing to give them anything they expect. And if you refuse to believe that this confrontation needs to take place, then get the fuck outta my sight.
The band are still on tour, and I need to disclaim that the music is best understood live, or at least through the visual presentation of their music videos. Even without the physical presence of these singular personalities there is a wondrously warped aesthetic universe to explore, but I’ve heard the music and seen the videos and let me tell you, Hot Fruit didn’t give me chills up my spine until I saw them on stage. Anyway, don’t think I’m proposing some kind of moral imperative to love Hot Fruit, because in the end the music is still great, but I do believe there is some imperative for them to exist, and for me to have seen them. Love ’em or hate ’em, they need to be heard.