Valentine’s Day is, simply put, a sham. It’s a holiday designed for commercial purposes with the intention of getting people to buy cards and candy as a ‘romantic gift’ for loved ones. When it’s a requirement to provide some sort of present, can you really call it ‘out of love’? And even for those of us who will spend it hopelessly single or re-brand it ‘Forever Alone Day,’ we’ll still comfort ourselves with sappy rom-coms and the discount candy that goes on sale the next day. Most people don’t even know much about the history of this holiday, with St. Valentine’s legacy of courtly love being fabricated to suppress pagan holidays instead. This conflagration set upon genuine affection ignited by commercial fakery is why VCPUNX will be putting on their show ‘Romance got hit by a car’ for Valentine’s Day.
This Valentine’s Day Eve , Saturday, Feb. 13, VCPUNX, Vassar’s music booking collective that specializes in punk, metal and other extreme genres, will be presenting “Romance got hit by a car,” starting at 5 p.m. in the Mug. The show will feature Fuck Party, a ‘jam band’ made up of Vassar students, and Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth (FDOME), a free rock/metal band from Western Massachusetts. Fuck Party is composed of Carly Bloomfeld ’16 on guitar and vocals, Aaron Bendich ’16 on drums, Nick Burka ’17 on trumpet and Brittani Skyers-White ’16 on clarinet.
Recounting the founding of the band, Bendich said, “It started out as something Carly did when she wasn’t enjoying a party, especially if it was at our house. She’d jump on a table in a crowded room and scream things like ‘fuck you’ ‘fuck this party’ etc. She also recorded a couple of songs and posted them online around this time.”
While originally starting with just Bloomfeld, who is also VCPUNX co-president, Fuck Party later expanded to add additional members in a continuous line-up. Their sound is loosely punk in its genre, though one shouldn’t be quick to label them with any singular genre. Burka compared the sound to Radiohead, known for their eclectic style.
The instruments with each performance are different, previous times including bass played by Ben Chin ’15, but this specific show having the special opportunity of a clarinet and trumpet. Bloomfeld recorded a few songs originally on her own, including ‘i don’t want to go to your fucking party at all[sic]’ and ‘everyone is fucking delusional, [sic]’ which can be found on the group’s Bandcamp page. Fuck Party played their first show in the AULA Center last March.
Trumpet player Burka spoke about the band’s dynamic sound, saying, “I typically play jazz trumpet, so this is a very different musical setting for me than usual. With jazz, there are many days where, either by your own fault or someone in the group’s or because of the weather, the energy isn’t there. With Fuck Party, the energy is always there.”
The other band, FDOME, while also being a jam band, has a harder sound they’ve dubbed ‘Mudlightning Metal.’ The frontman of FDOME is Danny ‘Monster’ Cruz, a 23-year-old college student from Western Massachusetts. Cruz also happens to suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, leaving him to sing and shout into the mic and play the guitar from his wheelchair while the rest of the band jams along. Founded in 2008, the band has released many albums since and toured all around. Some of their musical inspirations include Black Sabbath, GG Allin and Sun Ra. Their music covers all sorts of topics, such as sex, Satan, demons and vampires.
Their concerts usually consist of an improvised set. Wearing unique costumes, makeup and wigs, FDOME gives a unique stage presence to accompany their already distinct sound. FDOME released their last album, “All Roads Lead to DOME” in 2014. More of their music and information can be found on both their Bandcamp and official website.
In an interview with CHORTLER, Cruz described their “Mudlightning Metal” in relation other forms of metal, commenting, “Mudlightning Metal is metal mixed with all kinds of music. It’s space rock and all kinds of improvisational genius meets the Picasso of the avant-garde.”
Despite coming from a similarly structured organization, the sounds each band has are quite different. They are different from each other and from other styles of music in a way that can provide a unique and memorable concert. Nevertheless, they are still excited to perform together, united in this disdain for Valentine’s Day through anarchic music. While VCPUNX does do an annual Valentine’s Day show, this opportunity for the two bands to play together makes this event quite unique.
“We’re really looking forward to the show and have very high hopes.” Bloomfeld said. “We’re also immensely looking forward to Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth. Overall, we’re hoping and expecting that the show will be fun, extreme, thought-provoking, romantic, groundbreaking, cacophonous and heartbreaking. And we hope that everyone in the audience finds a valentine because of our music.”
While there’s all the clichés that come with Valentine’s Day, this show offers an alternative option, both musically and mentally. Despite the positive reinforcement that constantly occurs to push Valentine’s Day as a traditional holiday of traditional values, it does not mean that someone has to accept it as so. Tradition is nothing if the history is not the best. This originally religious holiday was created with the intention of stopping similar pagan holidays and also commemorates the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. VCPUNX, hopes to disrupt the conservative nature of Valentine’s Day and its outdated purpose with a reminder of the counterculture it so brazenly embodies.
On the significance of the show being on Valentine’s Day, Bendich said, “Punx has been doing Valentines Day shows for a few years. It’s good to disrupt Valentine’s Day culture. Fuck Valentine’s Day!”