Friday, November 28, 2008

Punk in The Pub

Pistofficer Rhythm
Originally uploaded by V'ron
Ah, "The Pub" at the corner of Wright and Fratney. It used to be called Begga's, and was the hangout for the Crazy Shepherd staff back when the Shepherd was on Wright Street as well. It was the place where Brian and I used to meet for a beer when we first started dating but weren't at the point where we were ready to "come out" to our mutual friends that we were seeing each other. (Gee, wasn't a place where the alternative press hung out a clever place to meet in secret?).

Before last night, last time I was there, it was to see Brian sit in with Dr Chow, before he became a full time member, and even then I wondered how they were going to cram a band in there. So when I got the Myspace message from Pistofficer that there would be four -- count 'em -- four bands (that would work on a bill with the band I'm going to go on a limb and call The Future of Kenocore), I really had to wonder how that was going to work. The Pub is just that. It's a PUB. It's not even as big as Quarters' Rock Palace.

Ran into Paul "The Fly" Lawson there, who explained to me that the Pub has indeed become something of a punker hangout. In fact, according to him, there's a punk house not too far away. And true to form, the punkers are good to and respectful of the joint. I was expecting it to be packed, and it wasn't really. (I was also expecting to pay cover, and nobody asked me for $$$, so I spent it on a fine microbrew on tap. At least the old Begga's attitude about beer is still there.) The musicians are generally good, friendly people, and they take their frustrations with the state of the nation out on stage.

Pistofficer was up first --and as usual, they rocked. They really are the future of hardcore in this state. Brian agrees -- "If they were in San Fran, they'd be huge. They'd be on Alternative Tentacles." While they don't sound like the DK's, they're thematically in their territory, as their songs all seem to ask a zombified, consumerist Amerika, "Will you people WAKE UP!" They've got a good book of anthemic hits, great turn of phrases, and they make the most of a stage, whether it's the 900 square feet of the Miramar or the cramped, usually-this-is-where -the-pool-table is spot in the back. I'm a fan.

Another Kenocore band was next -- I need to catch their name (I'll edit this post when I do), and they were straddling the line between punk and metal, but the did need to tighten it up a bit. This kind of music HAD to be tight, and sometimes it felt like they were behind their drummer/rhythm section. They have good attitude, and a distinctive sound -- just need some polish.

Fly had come to see a group called "Fetch the Pliers" (great name for a band) but apparently they weren't there. Instead, the third band I saw (and have to get their name too...) was a pretty good speedpunk band. I really need to bring a notebook to these things to get these names. They understood speed punk, and they had enough variety to make it work for a full set. Lots of speedpunk bands don't get this: if you're not going to vary your rhythm (which in speedpunk, is a syncopated 2/2 or even a 6/8, like a polka on amphetemines) you have to vary your melody, and this third band did. Now if I can just get their name, but here's the best part of Kenocore -- I'll hear about them eventually. This is a scene -- worked very hard by the Pistofficer boys and the other bands -- that is united enough to help each other out and promote each other. Maybe that's why it' lasted all these years. They get it -- they get that to keep an underground scene alive, you have to work together, even if it means cramming it into a tiny little pub that used to be a joint where alternative journalists used to go for a post-putting-the-paper-to bed cocktail.

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