PunkCake’s Punk Rock Prom 2017 WCUW, Worcester, MA May 6, 2017
Story by Kelly D Photos by Sarah K. Duda
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From the YouTube channel of Punkcake Alterno Art:
Let it be known: there is a band in Eastern Massachusetts composed of teenagers- with a female vocalist to boot- who can do proper justice to the growling beast that is Rage Against the Machine. This was one of my main takeaways from attending the Punkcake Punk Rock Prom in Worcester, MA a few weeks ago. The others? Well, do read on.
I first heard of this event, thrown by a collective of artists and musicians known as “Punkcake,” through a good pal. A mutual friend, the eponymous Mike of Michael Kane and the Morning Afters, was to play an all-ages night of punk rock music with attendees encouraged to dress to the nines- with a hellion twist, of course. I agreed, as I need little to no excuse to whip up a ridiculous(ly awesome) outfit at a moment’s notice. We dragged my sister Becca along for good measure.
After meeting up with yet another chum for an excellent pre-rager dinner at Armsby Abbey, we headed down the road to WCUW’s headquarters to rock out. We caught a view of a pretty bitchin’ double rainbow on the way.
The aforementioned band of teenaged individuals, Lily Black, deeply impressed me. After the opening notes of “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World rang through the room, my sister and I came charging out of the water closets to go jump into the chasm between the crowd and the stage and dance. Knowing as many musicians as I do, shrinking the gaping space between an audience and the band can be the most awkward task to complete while performing. So I helped them out and got Becca hopping and head-bobbing along with me, which the lead singer Lilly Senna gratefully acknowledged after the song ended. We had persuaded people to join us up front- and they did! The gap had closed. My job was done.
The crowning jewel of their set was Lily Black’s tribute to RATM, a most badass cover of “Killing in the Name.” It might’ve been some of the beverages I had consumed before the show but there was nothing more important at that moment than thrashing my entire body around to the band’s rendition. (So much so, in fact, that I broke my statement necklace from the sheer force of my headbanging.) Senna even included Becca and me in the hushed vox of the pre-chorus: “And now you do what they told ya” over and over till we reached the thundering climax, fans and band united as one.
After their set, I had a chance to congratulate the rest of the band: Bobby Linscott, Phoebe Clark, and Liam Barry are all consummate professionals and they haven’t even graduated high school. That maturity and talent will take you far in life, kids! We believe in you! After a trip to the dessert bar- as its name suggests, this Punkcake event proffered sweet treats on top of the rockin’ tunes- those in my entourage rehydrated and got ready for the remainder of the evening.
Michael Kane and the Morning Afters came next. I have had the pleasure of seeing them a handful of times before, but there’s nothing quite like seeing a punk band with its bassist decked out in a floor-length gown and its lead singer in a cotton-candy pink dress shirt.
The Morning Afters deliver a high-energy mix of punk, rock, and pop. After the brief intermission, the crowd had dispersed a bit, but I was content to rock out to them via headbanging and swirling around the dancefloor as Franklin Siplas, who contributes vocals as well as lead guitar, bassist Cheryle Crane, and drummer John Curtin teamed up with Mike to show these prom-goers what for. Thankfully, more people joined the audience as their set went on. Mike is quite the showman, reminding this reviewer of a combo of Sid Vicious and Angus Young. Yet his influences are skewed far away from those two, and more towards Bruce Springsteen.
Indeed, their searing tribute to the Boss, “Born to Run,” brought the house down as the triumphant closing song. Unfortunately, our ride home from Worcester made us miss the third band (the O’Tooles), but we had been well sated by two out of three. (Meat Loaf would approve.) I was also delighted that such a funky cool concept came to fruition in the first place! According to PunkCake Alterno Art’s Facebook page, the group of artists put together events semi-regularly in the Worcester area. So go forth, Worcester folks, and support your local entrepreneurs! You won’t be sorry!
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