A self-described “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence,” Downtown Boys came onto the scene in 2011 and haven’t stopped fighting the good fight since. Founders Victoria Ruiz and Joey DeFrancesco met while working at a hotel as both employees and labor organizers; they soon took their politics from the streets to the stage and have been producing some of the most socially-conscious music of the last decade, both as Downtown Boys and Malportado Kids.
Downtown Boys' music tackles issues of racism, queerphobia, classism, police violence, and more. They work to reclaim historically white, hypermasculine dominated spaces in punk with each explosive performance. What some might find alienating-- like Ruiz’s use of Spanish in “Haz Algo,” “Desde Arriba,” and “Monstro” as well as on stage--is exactly what makes the group accessible for traditionally overlooked audiences in punk. At the same, Ruiz and the band deliver powerfully blunt stump speeches in songs like “Slumlord Sal,” making sure their message can’t be overlooked or misinterpreted.
Even in the recording of their 2014 Shea set, Downtown Boys' infectious sax-driven energy comes through. It’s hard to listen to all ten tracks and not feel like you’re a part of a larger movement sprinting toward the revolution. Luckily, this is a revolution you can dance to.
- Ruby Mastrodimos