NO/HUGS: The alternative heroes you need

By Joanna Helga Morris

I’m one of those people that was severely depressed when the Vans Warped Tour announced that 2018 was it. I was so taken aback that I almost did not attend the 2018 Mansfield Tour Stop (Note that I haven’t missed the Mansfield and Connecticut Warped Tour’s in 10 years.) 

However, my friends convinced me to give it one more go for the sake of endless years of heat exhaustion and all the memories we made complaining about overpriced water and crowd surfing to bands. We were waiting by the front gate to get in when I saw a giant bunny on the Full Sail University Stage.

It wasn’t just the fact that there was a giant bunny pointing at me that caught my attention – but also the fact that behind the bunny there was an all female line-up. I was planning to make a run for it as soon as the gates opened as I wanted to catch the Maine however something about the weird setup made me stand still. That’s when I saw No/Hugs for the first time – in all their queer glory. 

I don’t even know how to describe what I felt. I just stood still, half paralyzed by what I was seeing and trying to take everything in. And yes- I missed half of the Maine’s set because I decided to watch all of theirs. They kept everyone on their feet and everyone around me was asking each other “Who are they?” and “Who is this band?”. The highlight of it all being when I almost bumped into an old man trying to get closer to the stage and realised that it was Kevin Lyman!

Their genre was so anti-warped tour that it made them even more warped tour. It’s almost like Kevin Lyman decided it was smart to book Freddie Mercury on Warped for the last show and – Who wouldn’t want to to see Freddie Mercury on the last Warped Tour?

Narcissus A-Ngel is the perfect amount of what gender is their lead singer and oh my god why am i so hot and bothered by the way this person is performing? She?They?He? Is a combination of unreal high notes and a raw, empowering tornado. I’m sure that had she been on any of the Mutant stages a lot of the vets would have been embarrassed to go on after her. I’m looking at you Cody Carson.

I stayed to shake hands – which is something you SHOULD NOT- do at Warped Tour unless there’s a designated meet and greet but I really really wanted to. I was quite surprised – years of experience have taught me that most Warped Tour singer’s are quite stuck up and full of themselves – Narcissus was one of the sweetest lead singers I had ever talked to on Warped and even though she was out of breath she tried her best to pose for a selfie with all the people lined up to talk to her. Also if I’m not mistaken, I also caught a glimpse of Shira backstage talking to them – possible spoiler? 

A year later finds me in Somerville, trying to find parking as No/Hugs performed at Sally O’Briens and my head was completely blown away once more by the high energy set and how much their music seemed to have grown in only a year.

No/Hugs are the queer heroes we need – with pure music, feels and emotions as well as a genuine message of inclusivity as they like to say. Go see them on tour!

Written by Gay Boy Bible

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