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Special Interest

Pearl and Woven In

Thursday, September 16
Show | 8:30pm // Doors | 7:30pm

“I teeter on the in-betweens of shock and glam,” says Alli Logout, the vocalist of New Orleans post-punk group Special Interest. “My body has always been a source of spectacle, because I’m fat and hot and people just don’t know what to make of it. I like to challenge the perceptions of what a frontperson can be. And yes, it can be outrageous and simultaneously profound and powerful. I’m seeking visions and futures that can hold all those things, and I’m seeking those things within myself. It’s incredible to watch how those feelings have manifested in my performance.”

Special Interest are all queer, and half of them are POC; that fact is central to who they are, and to the music they make. Their rousing new album, The Passion Of, which follows 2018’s fast, short, and loud Spiraling, offers 11 tracks of controlled, anthemic chaos. Searing industrial soundscapes are paired with hypnotic dance rhythms and Logout’s gutsy, no-holds-barred vocal delivery; their lyrics are part narrative, and part call to action. The band delights in twisting subgenre signifiers together in dramatic ways, as on “Head,” where they take a throttling broken beat and play siren-like squeals on top. On the slow-burning “All Tomorrow’s Carry,” Logout puts socio-political angst front and center. “Are we going out/ I watch the city crumble/ Yeah they were pushed out/ Soon evacuated/ House was near dilapidated,” Logout sings, perfectly balancing disco and discourse.

The band has changed naturally over the years, adding members and tweaking their sound. Though they started as a two piece, Special Interest now consists of Logout and Maria Elena on guitar, with Nathan Cassiani on bass and Ruth Mascelli on synth and drum machine. All of the group’s members are New Orleans transplants, drawn to the city’s eclecticism. That same spirit of eclecticism surfaces in their music. As Mascelli—whose decision to play a Casio SK1 through cheap pedals and a noisy amp created the foundation for the group’s post-industrial sound—puts it, “Punk music tends to be pretty standard in terms of what instruments are used, so I think people are just excited to see something different. The DIY scene in New Orleans can be very anything-goes, and we are definitely a product of that.”