Basketball Divorce Court making slam dunks all across town

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Death Cow w/ Basketball Divorce Court, Gunk Lung

Gabe’s — Sunday, July 21 at 8 p.m.; Free

Greentop and Wyatt Moran w/ Basketball Divorce Court, Greenlake

The Mill — Wednesday, July 31 at 8:30 p.m., $7

Basketball Divorce Court has two shows coming up this month. — Jess M Roy/courtesy of the band

Basketball Divorce Court starts their show with an excellent buildup. The guitars and the drums meet, sounding spontaneously flawless with long notes that shift in and out of harmonies.

The opening song, their traditional show starter, has no standard lyrics, but it still speaks with words. The audience gets the chance to hear what it sounds like for a woman to scream, and their July 7 show at the Yacht Club was the first time I had a chance to see people gather to hear it.

“Black individuals are three times more likely to be killed in the United States than white individuals,” screams Katy Kelly, the band’s lead vocalist. Instead of set lyrics, Kelly continues to tell the audience statistics about racial injustice, with a few instances of “that’s so fucked up” tossed in between.

The group formed only three months ago and has been working with all members — Kelly, Evan Bittner, Derek Bolser, Jess Roy and Adrian Amjadi — for just about three weeks, but their musical and political alignment doesn’t seem accidental. They have donated proceeds from past shows to the Yellowhammer Fund and TransVerse, both of which focus on providing access and inclusivity to underrepresented groups.

Basketball Divorce Court defines their genre as punk (sometimes post-punk) but not emo — only aspirationally grunge. The name is something of a portmanteau phrase, a combination of basketball court and the TV show Divorce Court.

“It was a little bit for the meme, but people are like ‘that’s actually a great name,’” guitarist Bittner said.

The band stands out with their extreme focus on activism, incredible name and talent after only a few months working together, but also because the group puts a woman in front of the most prominent microphone.

Basketball Divorce Court singer Katy Kelly. — Jess M. Roy/courtesy of the band

“At most of the gigs we play I am very much the only female or [person who] identifies with she or her pronouns,” Kelly said. “Not only that, but Jess Roy is in our band and they identify as nonbinary … I feel like although it’s not prominent in shows we play, we bring more oomph to the scene than other bands would, which makes us stand out.”

“There are definitely more female and nonbinary people in the hardcore scene around here as opposed to the bar scene,” Bittner said. “The bars are just dudes.”

For Basketball Divorce Court, the atmosphere they bring to the spaces they play is what they’d like audiences to leave with most of all.

“Our lyrics are very basic and generic … but at the same time people take away a lot from our stage presence,” Kelly said. “[For me] it’s more about their emotion in the moment, not trying to make them feel my emotions.”


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The group also makes a point to include all punk music lovers at their concerts.

“The main goal is inclusivity,” Kelly said. “We really try to support everybody being who they are and expressing themselves through our music.”

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