Music » Choice Concerts

Punk band Mannequin Pussy returns to Rochester to headline Bug Jar

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It’s not often that Rochesterians get the chance to experience a powerhouse touring band twice in one year. On Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. the Philadelphia-based punk band Mannequin Pussy will play a headlining show at Bug Jar. After sneaking away from her bandmates to grab a warm cup of tea, frontwoman Marisa “Missy” Dabice sat down to chat over the phone about their most recent performance in the region.

In August, Mannequin Pussy opened for synth-pop outfit Japanese Breakfast at Anthology during unusually warm weather. “It was a great show, but I remember it being extraordinarily hot,” Dabice said with a laugh. “It was easily one of the sweatiest shows on tour, so I’m excited to come back in the cooler months.”

As a collective, Mannequin Pussy are undeniably talented at amping up a crowd. Between Dabice’s skillful attack of each syllable as she shouts out the lyrics and Kaleen Reading’s spitfire drum licks, it seems impossible that the band could have a single inattentive or disinterested person in the audience. The band’s latest EP, “Perfect,” includes some slower, more contemplative tracks, but Dabice shares that the setlist on this tour has been carefully curated to hype up the audience.

“Right now, we’re very focused on creating a high-energy environment,” Dabice said. “It’s more like pop-peaks and punk-peaks. We’re putting a lot of pop songs at the beginning of the set and then we’re gonna let people just thrash it out at the end.”

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the band’s creative process was impacted by the effects of social isolation, Dabice said. “We didn’t practice at all during the early days of the pandemic,” she explained. “We didn’t see each other at all. It was very difficult to write because of the numbing depression of losing our livelihoods.”

The band’s goal for this tour was to create a space for people to experience mutual joy and process the ongoing impacts of this period of isolation, Dabice said.



“I would like anyone who comes to see a show of ours to walk away feeling good about themselves,” she said. “And feeling like they’ve connected into this collective catharsis that we’re trying to bring to each show. And not just to us as a band, but to the people around them — reminding people that they live in a community, and that it’s up to communities to take care of each other.”

Fans will have little time to catch their breath between each band on the lineup, as supporting bands Angel Du$t and Pinkshift bring their own dynamic sounds to the evening.

“There’s been huge mosh pits every night and people have been very respectful, and keeping their masks on,” Dabice said. “And I think a big part of why we wanted to do this tour with Angel Du$t and Pinkshift, besides being fans of theirs, is because we wanted to create a hype night for people to come and release this pent-up energy they’ve had.”

Angel Du$t, a Baltimore punk-rock band, includes members from Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice, and has gained notoriety for its ability to infuse hardcore influences with more accessible alternative rock.

Also from B-more, Pinkshift is a four-piece pop-punk band. As self-described “rat city rock nerds,” the group brings a fresh perspective to the genre, writing songs about mental health and self-care.

Mannequin Pussy plays alongside Angel Du$t and Pinkshift on Saturday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m. (doors open) at Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Avenue. $17. Tickets available at door only; 21 and over. Proof of vaccination is required. bugjar.com; facebook.com/mannequinpword.

Emmarae Stein is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to dkushner@rochester-citynews.com.