St. Pete punk trio Permanent Makeup explains new "Flex" video, complexities of booking 16-date spring tour

The trek up and down the Eastern Seaboard starts on May 18.

click to enlarge Permanent Makeup, which leaves for a spring tour on May 18, 2018. - Nicole Kibert/elawgrrl.com
Nicole Kibert/elawgrrl.com
Permanent Makeup, which leaves for a spring tour on May 18, 2018.

Permanent Makeup guitarist James Bess was blunt when he spelled out the concept behind a video for "Flex," a song from the St. Pete punk band's 2017 album Scrape.

"Finding the usual trope of musicians miming their own music to be, in most cases, inherently ridiculous, we decided to make a video that used visual abstraction and repetition to amplify the distance between performance and result, reducing the action to pure form and gesture," Bess, told CL.

Mission accomplished. The three-minute clip is every bit as disorienting as the track itself and features bassist Christopher Nadeau and drummer Susan-Dickson turned into fuzzy brown figures moving at alternatively manic and sludge-y speeds (watch below).

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Permanent Makeup won't be lollygagging around the Eastern Seaboard and Southeast next week when it kicks off a 16-date tour where it'll be accompanied by Providence, Rhode Island instrumental outfit Minibeast and New York slime-rock band Palberta. Booking a DIY tour, as usual, is always an adventure for the band, but this one was planned to make sure that Permanent Makeup could play as many dates as possible with Minibeast, which is a new project from Mission of Burma drummer Peter Prescott.

"Mission of Burma is a huge band for us so it is a massive honor to get to play a few dates with him and his current band. It's always inspiring to work with people who are still doing things on their own terms after many years of creating their own music," Nadeau told CL. Permanent Makeup reached out to old friends while making a few new connections to book this run. It will play four cities it's never been to on this tour and will re-visit many locales that have been good to the band in the past.

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"In New Orleans, this will be our third time there and first time playing in a venue instead of out in a city park with power provided by a generator," Nadeau said, adding that he likes to return favors by helping out of town bands find shows when they make it down to the Bay area. Nadeau lives for that sense of community, but admits that it isn't always perfect.

"Every once and a while, we will work with someone who is later outed as a creep. It is awful that even in underground music where we are supposed to be fighting the scourge of mainstream values, we are blighted with rapists and creeps who rest on their social capital and manipulate people around them," he said. The band's last tour included a stop at festival whose earnings would be donated to a local rape crisis center.

"We found out last month that [the fest organizer] is a serial rapist. Completely heart breaking. We believe survivors and victims of these predators. [Creeps] have absolutely no place in DIY music no matter how many shows they book," Nadeau said. Still, the positives always outweigh the negatives when a band hits the road.

"Overall, we are meeting incredible people who are conscious of their place in the world and want to create safe spaces for creative endeavors," Nadeau added, "and we are thankful to be a very tiny, minute part of that world."

Watch "Flex" below and listen to Scrape at the bottom of this post. Call your local record store to see if it is carrying the release.


Permanent Makeup Spring Tour 2018
5/18 — Jacksonville, FL at Rain Dogs
5/19 — Raleigh, NC at Slims
5/20 — Richmond, VA (house show)
5/21 — Philadelphia, PA at WKDU
5/22 — Newark, NJ at Art Index
5/23 — Worcester, MA at Ralph's Rock Diner
5/25 — New York, NY at The Glove*
5/26 — Philadelphia, PA at The Sound Hole*
5/27 — Washington, D.C. at Rhyzome*
5/28 — Lexington, KY at Liberty House
5/29 — Nashville, TN at Two Boots
5/30 — Birmingham, AL at Sanctum Comics
5/31 — Panama City, FL at Ford and Spoon House
6/1 — New Orleans, Louisiana at Banks St. Bar
6/2 — Pensacola, FL at Chizuko Open Books
6/3 — Tallahassee, FL at Wolf's Den^

*w/Minibeast
^w/Palberta

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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