[This article was originally supposed to be published in a magazine a few weeks ago when +HIRS+ was supposed to play Riot Fest Philly. The fest was cancelled, the article became homeless, and now it has a home here.]
+HIRS+ is a band from Philadelphia; tonight they’re playing Lava Space (4314 Lancaster Avenue, 7:30 p.m.) in West Philly with two bands from Portland, Correspondences and Swaath. +HIRS+’s lead singer, Greg, is a professional dog walker. A few weeks ago, I went dog walking with her.
Greg’s standing on the corner of 48th & Baltimore wearing black short-shorts, a shirt with an image of a pink t-rex on the front, hoop ear rings and two nose rings. Attached to her leash is Turbo, an Alaskan Husky with one blue eye, one brown eye.
“She’s a total queen wolf,” Greg says, reaching down to bag Turbo’s freshly plopped shit. “Everything’s hers. She’s walking me. She rules the world!”
Greg, who identifies as trans, is also sort of a diva. “I’m a total femme bitch,” Greg declares. “My grandma called me a little slut on Facebook once. That gave me a little happy tear. She’s the best grandma ever!”
Turbo starts eating a weird piece of bread. “Hey, stop it!” commands Greg, but Turbo keeps chomping. “She’s a total queen bitch. If I tried to stop her, she’d bite me.”
During the walk, here’s how Greg describes +HIRS+.
“The fastest, gayest shit.”
All the songs, which very rarely exceed 30 seconds and have titles like “Dead Pigs,” “Glitterfuck” and “Gay Magic,” are built on death-speed drum machine pummels and hellacious guitar riffs courtesy of Scott, the second member of +HIRS+. Many songs begin with soundbites, like “Forever Queer,” where a distraught woman says, “You don’t take fucking human life like this and just sabotage and rip it apart like Jesus on the cross.” After Greg screams for 20 seconds, the song ends as an angry man says, “Fuck you, motherfucker!”
Many tunes are about how much +HIRS+ hates cops. Greg says, “I have a problem with negative enforced authority, but I don’t wish harm on anyone.” And some of the others are about Satan. “It’s a gimmick. We’re not Satanists,” Greg admits. “Well, maybe we are. I guess one of us has to be. We do have blood rituals. Religion just sucks and it’s really easy to make fun of it.”
+HIRS+ recently took its queer-grind bedlam to Australia for a two-week-long tour. “I was saving up for a vasectomy,” Greg says, “but we went to Australia instead. It was the best tour ever. We spooned kangaroos, hung out with a koala and kissed a dingo on the lips.”
They just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to release an Australian tour DVD, and an LP featuring their first 100 songs, so soon you can witness the madness down under for yourself. (I listened to all 100 songs in a row and it made me very nervous and angry.)
As we approach Turbo’s house, she stops to sniff an abandoned badminton racquet. “You like that, Turbo?” asks Greg. “Should I go find you some shuttlecocks?”
+HIRS+’s First 100 Songs LP arrives this Halloween, but you can listen to all of ’em right here right now.