Words by Bill San Antonio

Flickering behind the bar at the Amityville Music Hall – on the night before Easter, no less – are candles emblazoned with the image of the Virgin Mary, in all her terrifying glory, there providing one of the few sources of light in the entire venue. It’s quiet on the street outside, a long stretch of road known within the Suffolk County community as Broadway, but a tremendous and violent sound ruptures from the miniscule stage inside, as four bands – two on tour from Ontario, Canada; the others from Brooklyn and Long Island – thrash their way into pleasant thoughts of chocolate bunnies and resurrection.

Not that a hardcore show on Long Island is completely devoid of religious imagery. Drew Thomson, vocalist for headliner Single Mothers, shouts, “I need God about as much as she needs me” at an audience of teens and early twenty-somethings banging heads and bodies in the pit mere inches from where he swings his mic stand, during their track, “Patricide.” From time to time, he also makes the Christian sign of the cross and raises his arms to the heavens before unleashing hell upon the crowd. Equally as abundant are Daddy issues, perhaps similar to those of the messianic figure being celebrated the next day, as much of the material from opener Vulture Shit depicts a failure-to-launch conflict between a world-weary father and a son fearful of losing his humanity by wearing a suit and tie to a 9-to-5 job. Standard church-hardcore stuff.

For Single Mothers, the stop on Long Island is but another city on a 39-stop tour with The Dirty Nil that included gigs at SXSW and the Spillover Music Fest, though the latter act would be headed home after the next night’s show at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn. But there is a unique quality to Thomson as he bounces around stage, smiling ironically, given the aggressive nature of his band’s music. He has all the charisma of Mick Jagger, if Mick Jagger scowled a lot, wore all black and got punched in the face a few too many times. His stringy hair flops with each movement, flicking sweat in every direction. His drummer and guitar player perform shirtless. The pack of five-odd fans literally bowing at his feet – ah, again with the religious imagery – eat it up.

Prior to the band’s final cut, the particularly angry “Crooks,” Thomson, in a fleeting moment of sweetness, describes how a band of four dudes conceived a name like Single Mothers. Turns out they’re all from single-parent households, with Thomson’s father being out of the picture from the start. He then launches into a tale of giving his mother the band’s first t-shirt and her taking offense to a name she thinks her son used flippantly and disrespectfully. But like a certain son of a single mother before him, Thomson philosophizes deeper, more thoughtful meaning. He says his mother once described single-parenthood to him as a struggle to provide half of a full household, in an effort to fill a portion of a void only one person could legitimately fill. They lived for each other because all they had was each other, and the same was true, he says, of the band, and the chaos that ensues with building a following.

Much like – well, you get the idea.


TheWaster.com | Long Island