My Son the Doctor (all photos by Raynee Hamilton) 

What Do 2022’s Hardest Working Bands Have in Common?

Touring the eclectic indie artists at baby’s all right: “These bands don’t seem to care!” 

By Raynee Hamilton


A Venezuelan experimental metal band, an indie bedroom-pop artist, and a few post-punk/new-wave bands came together for a showcase at Baby’s All Right on January 6th. The lineup had potential to be clunky and awkward, but all these performers had one important thing in common: that shiny, unreplicable, authentic “it” factor.

I arrived at Baby's All Right about 30 minutes late after dinner. It was cold and I was wearing a sheer dress with no tights and, luckily, a leopard-print fur coat. I was there to see what were apparently the “hardest-working bands of 2022,” according to… someone at Baby’s All Right. I wasn’t sure what the qualifications were, but as soon as I saw the lineup, I trusted their judgment.

After rushing into the Williamsburg venue, I was thankful that Dead Tooth, the opening band, had not taken the stage yet. I pushed my way to the front, using the unnecessarily large purse I’d brought as a sort of battering ram to get through the crowd, and found my place at the front near the right side of the stage. Standing next to me was a group that looked straight out of the Minneapolis DIY Punk scene, wearing a variety of leather jackets, distinctive piercings and jewelry, and even one very cool skull-print ski mask.

Dead Tooth took the stage and the floor filled up immediately, heads banging to songs that were fast-paced, raw, and catchy. The frontman and founder, Zach James, was lanky, dressed in black, and sporting a knee brace and cane due to an unfortunate basketball-related injury. Even with an injured frontman, it was hard to take my eyes off of Dead Tooth. After a few songs, the band paused, and Zach said, “We’re the first band so that means we’re the laziest, but that’s okay because at least we look good!” They were right, they did look good. The band then launched into their newest single, “Sporty Boy,” a post-punk song that sounds like what the coolest kid you knew in college would be listening to in their dorm room. I’ve seen Dead Tooth a few times—they’re a favorite of the Brooklyn post-punk scene. Everytime I watch them perform, they seem like they’re genuinely having fun on stage. It’s an infectious energy that is much-needed in a scene that tends to take itself a bit too seriously.

Dead Tooth

After the set, I headed to the bar to grab a vodka soda. A man with long, 80s-rocker hair and a leather jacket asked me for a cigarette even though we were inside. I offered him one and he proceeded to light it right there. Nobody said anything.

The next band to take the stage, My Son the Doctor, had a sort of emo-hipster vibe to them, like if Weezer played at Warped Tour. The energy in the room was fast and lighthearted, more dancing and less headbanging. The crowd also seemed to shift a bit—the ratio of leather jackets to flannels leaned in favor of flannels. The band self-describes as “irony-poisoned post-punk” and they fully embody it. The lead singer was dressed in overalls and had a mustache so perfect I almost think it’s fake. After their set was over, I saw him dancing in the audience with the rest of the fans while the next bands played.

My Son The Doctor

Joudy, the aforementioned Venezuelan metal band, opened their set with heavy ambient music that began as they took the stage. The members all had dark hair and were wearing nondescript black clothes. They almost blended into the stage behind them. Their music, however, certainly did not blend in—loud distorted vocals and intense guitar solos riled up the crowd. A circle of headbanging audience members formed, and lead guitarist Diego Ramirez jumped into the pit, playing guitar while dancing with the crowd. This connection with the audience is something that brings these bands together. When they weren’t performing, they were watching the other sets or talking to people at the show. They all felt very approachable, connected to each other and the scene they belong to.

Tits Dick Ass is the name of the next band, made up of Julia Pierce, Thomas DeLaney, and a bassist/singer whose name I cannot find on the internet (I’m hesitant to go too far down in the “tits dick ass” Google search results). If Courtney Love and Joan Jett had a rockstar baby, that would be Julia Pierce. She was wearing black leather and lace, and I couldn’t help but stare at her while listening to the band's post-punk songs. The audience skewed younger for this set. I wondered how they found out about the band, since they have a limited social media presence and almost no music on any streaming platforms. I wondered if the new cool thing in music is being off the grid—being so cool that people have to find out about you through word of mouth.

Thomas DeLaney of Tits Dick Ass

Julia Pierce of Tits Dick Ass and Zack James of Dead Tooth

The last performer is the most unique of the lineup, genre-wise. May Rio, a solo indie artist, took the stage in a floor-length pink gown adorned with ribbons. She brought a violinist and keyboard player onstage with her and spent most of the set standing in the middle of the stage, facing the audience. Her music sounded like how the sun feels on the first truly warm day in spring—a soft and reflective contrast to the brash punk that preceded her. Her vocals were soothing and dreamy, set against beautiful and slow instrumentals. When she spoke to the crowd, it was as if she was peacefully talking to a friend. The audience, who had just finished hours of headbanging, seemed to welcome this as a relief. They stood, looking back at her and nodding their heads introspectively.

May Rio

When it comes to this lineup, genre does not particularly matter—instead, it’s connection with the audience, stage presence, and more importantly, genuine love and appreciation of live music that has always brought the scene together. I’ve been to far too many shows in Brooklyn where the bands perform and then are nowhere to be seen for the rest of the night, likely hiding backstage or in some VIP room. These bands don’t seem to care about their self promotion on social media or how ‘marketable’ they are, and that authenticity is refreshing. The “it” factor that brings these bands together, and likely what qualifies them as the “hardest-working bands of 2022,” is the unfeigned coolness they exert—the lack of clout-poisoning that can happen when bands gain a following and “blow up.”

Whether it’s Dead Tooth’s industrial sound, Tits Dick Ass and their infectious presence, or May Rio’s tranquil, contemplative tracks, these artists put their all into every song, never assuming they’re too cool for anything, which ironically is what gives them that elusive “it” factor.