Dry Cleaning’s Everyday Surrealism – Pitchfork
March 12, 2020—the night before much of the United States was told to stay home. Nearly 200 COVID-19 cases were reported in Los Angeles this morning, alongside the news that Disneyland would shut its gates until at least the end of the month. No longer a faraway threat, this was the day the coronavirus was acknowledged as an immediate danger. Still, 200-some people crowded around a stage, maskless, in the din of a nightclub-bar in Silverlake, essentially risking their lives to see a band from Britain called Dry Cleaning.
As the four members emerged from the velvet curtain, Nick Buxton, the drummer, took his seat and began to diddle, opening and closing his mouth to the beat, chewing down on imagined globules of air. Tom Dowse moved his feet as if he were turning corners on a hoverboard, his body jerking with each shape he made on his guitar’s neck. Bassist Lewis Maynard thrashed hard with his long hair and beard, looking like some metal god character from a Guitar Hero expansion pack. Together, the three men resembled a Metallica tribute band.
Their vocalist, however, was a punk poet—more John Cooper Clarke than James Hetfield. Either terrified or meant to terrify (it was difficult to tell), Florence Shaw was dressed in her comfiest gray sweats, her red-nailed fingers gripped tightly around the microphone stand as though it were climbing rope. She stood deathly still while the others