Pansy Division, which plays the Big Dipper on Saturday, is to queer-core as the Sex Pistols is to punk rock.
Queer-core? What does that mean?
A queer-core band is punk in style and is comprised entirely of homosexual band members. The nature of queer-core songs usually pursues homosexual issues such as lifestyle and homophobia.
A number of bands such as God Is My Co-Pilot and Tribe 8 make up the queer-core genre (many of which are from the Bay Area and record on the gay punk label Outpunk), but Pansy Division is perhaps the most visible.
The San Francisco band is signed to one of the nation’s top independent punk labels, Lookout Records. The Berkeley-based label was built by early Green Day and Operation Ivy (now Rancid) releases.
For the label, Pansy Division, whose sound delves in contagious guitar pop a la the Ramones and the Buzzcocks, has released throngs of singles and three albums “Undressed,” “Deflowered” and this year’s “Pile-Up.”
Last fall, Green Day had its pal Pansy Division open for it during its U.S. tour.
For Pansy Division, because of its brash, unapologetic and erotically gay-rooted songs (even though they’re rather humorous), playing before thousands of people every night was, indeed, a safety risk.
In some cities, the band was a hit. In others, like Detroit, audiences weren’t as open-minded, bombarding it with a steady hail of change, cigarette lighters and spit.
“We got hit with coins in Detroit,” singer/guitarist Jon Ginoli said in a recent Village Voice interview. “That was the worst reaction we’ve ever had. On the other hand, we walked away with $30, so it was like tips.”
“As far as I’m concerned, I think that a band like Pansy Division saves people’s lives,” said Green Day singer/guitarist Billy Joe told the Village Voice. “A lot of kids go through life not knowing … what their sexuality is all about. But if someone has sort of the same ideas and feelings they do - and a sense of humor thrown on top of it - that really helps.”
The trio is back in its element, playing underground clubs in front of audiences who accept and appreciate the band for what it is.
Saturday’s supporting bands include Mother Load, Seattle’s North American Bison and local hard-core band Cause.
Music starts at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $4.
In club news…
Big Dipper owner Steve Spickard has put the nightclub, which he’s owned for six years, up for sale.
The Big Dipper is one of only a handful of local clubs that books original music.
Elsewhere in the night
The Fumes, the Flies and the Ticks, all pesty punk bands, play Outback Jack’s tonight.
In May, the Fumes will enter a Seattle studio to record its second album, which is slated for a late summer/early fall release.
The cover is $4. Music at 9:30 p.m.
On Monday, the Big Dipper will have Columbia Recording artist Stompbox on stage. Tree and Honkey Ball open. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. The cover is $3.