The Queers have seemingly been around forever. They may well forever be the most juvenilely offensive bands in the punk rock scene. All of this is intentional though, and, after several times hearing the band, they almost become charming in an innocent sort of way.
This sounds pretty strange, but that’s kind of who the Queers are. They come from an era of music when the easiest way to get attention was to be as abrasive as possible. Of course, the Queers were never really about garnering attention (for the sake of anything anyway), they just happen to be abrasive in general, and, if it happens to get them noticed, that is great.
As the band evolved over the years, they started to very clearly start to wear their collective heart on their sleeve. This comes across during their live sets in full force. They might be intentionally vulgar, but they believe in all of the underlying concepts of their songs, even if it’s just on a base level. (Well, maybe not all of them — some are fairly silly — but a fair number.)
The Queers technically formed in 1982 in New Hampshire, but in relative terms that was only a brief stay, as they broke up in 1984. Frontman Joe Queer (born Joe King) re-formed the band in 1990, which is the incarnation of the band that everyone’s most familiar with. The band’s gone through several changes, with Joe Queer being the only mainstay through the band’s history. The current lineup has essentially been together since 2008 and presently includes Dangerous Dave on bass and Lurch Nobody on drums.
When the band started, they were a takeoff on the Ramones’ punk ideology (hence why Joe King took the name Joe Queer). Their style of music is technically pop-punk, but it’s not really what’s recognized as pop-punk today, except for a select group of people, as it focuses on catchy melodies (if a little rough) rather pop-rock polish. So it’s almost Ramones-pop, which has really turned into a genre in and of itself (the “genre” spawning other like minded bands such as Screeching Weasel and the Mr. T Experience).
The Ramones style of pop-punk, though, leads to an energetic and fun brand of live shows. On their albums, the Queers are fast and will occasionally break out a song constructed like a ballad, but everything on their albums song like mid-tempo songs compared with what they play live.
There’s a real rata-tat feeling to the Queers’ live set. Everything they do is sped up to the nth degree as they whirl through their songs at a breakneck pace. They rarely give the audience much time to breathe, much less themselves. It’s almost like they have a deadline to meet and they have to play their entire discography before their time is up.
It’s possible that this could alienate the audience, but the Queers are good and experienced enough at what they do that, despite their speed, they never lose the structure and focus of their songs. Every song is able to keep its shape musically, and Joe Queer is vocally clear enough to have every snotty lyric heard.
Of course this is why people show up to a punk rock show. They want to move and be aggressive and just let off whatever steam has been building the last few days. Ultimately, that’s what the Queers provide. They’re a loud, fast, mildly angry release for the audience. They’re classic punk rock simplicity at its best, and they know that no one would want it any differently.