Friday, October 31, 2008
Pirate punk with Portland's Rum Rebellion
For the past decade or so there has been a loose association of bands flying the Pyrate Punx banner, in the past couple years they seem to have gotten pretty organized into chapters, putting on events, parties, and more, with an emphasis on DIY, drinking, supporting each other and having fun and trying to shake off some of the drama and violence that can plague the punk rock scene. It's become a healthy DIY network down the West Coast (and elsewhere) of punk bands that help support each other on tours... plus, there is the added bonus of pirate speak and pirate accouterments!
The thing is though, most of the Pyrate Punx bands aren't really that piratey, they are straight up punk bands. There's nothing wrong with this, but when along comes a band like Rum Rebellion from Portland, the tag of pirate seems way more fitting. Offstage the band members look like anyone else you'd see at a bar like Funhouse, but onstage they pick up acoustic guitars, a bouzouki, and tin whistle, along with more traditional rock/punk instruments and blast out a mix of sea shantys, Irish music and punk rock. Awesome! Growing up listening to a lot of traditional Irish music, I love this kinda sound. They are more in the vein of The Pogues or Mutiny than anyone else, with a much more traditional feel than a band like The Dropkick Murphys, who only flirt with traditional Irish music in their sound. Live they do covers of both Stiff Little Fingers and The Pogues, clearly wearing some of their influences on their sleeves. And I love that the biggest guy in the band plays the smallest instrument, their whistle player completely dwarfs his instrument, which totally works with the rebellious feel to their music.
Rum Rebellion have one CD out, "Cruisin For A Boozin'," which I picked up at a recent show they played in Seattle and have been rockin' the past few days. It nicely captures their sound and is still rough around the edges how I like it (which is where the sea shanty feel really comes in, as opposed to the Irish records my dad played all the time while I was growing up, which were sometimes too polished sounding). For more information about Rum Rebellion, check out their website.
ps- Blogger is being lame and no longer automatically resizing my photos to fit the page. Click them for the full pics, more of the band members are actually in them!