The Internet notoriously sees cringe as currency — with users dredging up the most embarrassing videos from the bowels of TikTok as a way to accrue likes via second-hand shame. This week, however, one Twitter user’s attempt to poke fun at a TikTok backfired, heaping praise on an unsuspecting Vegas noise act with a penchant for destroying trash receptacles.
It all started as these things often do, with a random user with “Based” in his display name tweeting out a video with the dashed-off sentiment, “This is the worst TikTok I’ve ever seen.” The TikTok in question should look pretty familiar to anyone who has been to a DIY show. A ring of bored-looking kids in black toting Bud Lites stand around in a dirt backyard as a singer writhes around in the dust, accompanied by a person with a wallet chain beating an aluminum trash can with a baseball bat. A skinny boy in a purple and black tie-dyed shirt is also standing by himself, shuffling his feet uncomfortably. He is all of us.
Astrid Wagner, the 20-year-old singer, says the Body War group formed in May 2022 and includes 18-year-old Airon on guitar (and trash can); 18-year-old Zach on cello, bass, and guitar; Astrid himself on vocals; and 22-year-old Bren on drums. The TikTok in question was filmed by an audience member during a stop on another band’s tour. That act plans to hit the road, but not to record music.
“It began with a few Facebook groups posting [the video] at our expense, not connected to Body War in any way (nor were those people interested),” Wagner tells Rolling Stone. “It made its way onto Twitter and Instagram.”
Mr. Based Brando, an avowed music lover, tells Rolling Stone he found the video while scrolling TikTok and thought, “Holy shit!! This is fucking awful!” According to the vast numbers of responses to the video — which has now reached more than two million views — Brando might be largely on his own. Myriad bands chimed in to show love for the act, with Geoff Rickly from Thursday tweeting, “Makes us want to join TikTok if we’re being honest. Legit rules.”
“Body War is like a TikTok collision between Nineties Black Dice and the Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza,” Rickly tells Rolling Stone. “Some of these people making fun of them have never been to a noise show at an outside, probably unsanctioned, DIY space, and it shows.” Max Collins, of Eve 6 and Twitter fame, also showed the group love, telling RS: “It’s very refreshing to see a TikTok video that’s not ‘creators’ affecting stilted poise or doing an obvious cover song or talking about how Johnny Depp is cool and innocent. Body War is lifting its leg like a dog and taking a piss on all the tropes of the app.”
Body War was most excited by the props from acts like Lingua Ignota, Backxwash, and Health. “It became very real, and the power of the vivacious physical automatism was increasingly affirmed as many extremely admirable artists (whose visions align with the physical art aesthetic) began commenting on the video,” Wagner says.
Brando changed his proverbial tune when asked what he thought of the reaction to the TikTok video. “It was interesting because it was mostly positive, which I was not expecting,” he says. “After watching the video a couple of times it is pretty cool the raw energy they have. Weird-cool lol.” He then posted a dick joke and a dirty Disney meme and signed off for the night.