The Taxpayers at Vera Project on March 30, 2024 in Seattle, Wash. | photo by Chris Chappell @gettingwarmer

Chris Chappell Photo Column—The Taxpayers

Apr 20, 2024

I can’t tell you if The Taxpayers or the audience were having a better time, but what I can tell you is that everyone in the room was happy that this singular DIY punk band is playing shows again.

There was an anticipatory energy in the crowd during their March 30 show at Vera Project in Seattle. After seven years of inactivity, this was the last of three dates back from the dead. During their absence, their song “I Love You Like an Alcoholic” gained popularity on a certain video sharing app. Given the age of many of the audience members, I imagine many of them found The Taxpayers this way.

I struggle to describe The Taxpayers’ sound, as DIY punk feels reductive. During their set, there were as many as nine people singing and playing instruments on stage and I lost count of all the guitars, horns, auxiliary instruments, and pool toys on stage. If I had to pin them down, I’d say their sound was somewhere between folk punk and the cabaret/circus punk stylings of The World Inferno/Friendship Society.

It’s safe to say everyone in attendance had the time of their lives during The Taxpayers long set. The band blasted through over thirty songs and was enthralling the entire time. There was dancing, singalongs, stage diving (from band members and audience members), giant stuffed fuzzy balls, and an immense amount of smiling.

One of the highlights was when singer/guitarist Rob Taxpayer asked who had traveled the farthest to be at the show. Several yelled out Canadian cities, which isn’t surprising due to Seattle’s proximity to the country. Someone said “Sydney.” The band immediately dragged them on stage and encouraged the entire crown to chant their name: “Allan! Allan! Allan!” It was obvious Allan was thrilled about this and that this was not the only chant during their set. Other chants included, “fuck the moon” and the names of various band members and crew every time they did something even remotely significant. Break a string? Everyone chants your name. Fix said string? Everyone chants your name. Tune the fixed string? Everyone chants your name.

And there were group dances! Rob and Allan lead everyone in “Hurricane” where we all put spirit fingers in the air and spun in circles. And there was “Bobsled” where we pretended we were squatting in hundreds of bobsleds, waving our hands wildly in the air. Between the chants and dances, the spirit and energy were extremely high.

I haven’t seen The Taxpayers in probably ten years since this show. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect as the last time I saw them it was in a dusty lot behind an anarchist coffee shop in Phoenix, Ariz., playing to around thirty people. I will say that I walked into the Vera Project expecting to have a good time and left with the biggest grin across my face. I’m positive I wasn’t the only one.

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