By Emily Hoover | firstname.lastname@example.org
As the economic recession takes its toll on St. Augustine, the local music scene is bouncing back. On Friday, Sept. 11, local band Geny Pigs united with international guitarist Dixie Duncan for a concert at Kulture Hookah Lounge on West King Street.
Audience members filled their lungs with hookah smoke and their ears with alternative rock, experimental rock and pop-punk. For Geny Pigs, a local punk band, the event was more about togetherness for music lovers.
The band, a veteran at downtown venue The Oriole’s Nest, that has also played shows in Jacksonville, expressed serious concerns over the idea of contemporary punk rock and its place in mainstream music.
“Punk is not about fashion or how tight your pants are,” said drummer Brandon Murawski, 28. “It has become a commercial commodity. It’s really about friends and having fun. We do it because we love it.”
Vocalist and guitarist Alex Shakar, 21, agreed, saying that punk is not dead. “It’s just choking on fashion,” he said.
Although they are skeptical of sensationalized and synthetic music, the band, that names ’90s punk bands Sick of It All and Pennywise as its primary influences, as well as older bands Minor Threat and Operation Ivy, embraces all types of music. The members feel that local musicians harbor much creativity, despite the area’s strictness about all-ages concerts at bars.
“Big bars in Jacksonville hold 18-and-up shows at full-service bars,” said bassist Drew Rockafellow, 28. “Here, they just don’t accommodate a younger audience.”
Kulture did just that, charging a $5 fee for those over 18 but under 21. They also booked Duncan, a multi-instrumentalist and winner of many competitions, including best acoustic guitarist and best bassist for an unsigned band.
Duncan, who picked up his stepfather’s 1957 Martin acoustic guitar in early childhood, also plays piano, drums and another form of percussion, Bandura. However, he sticks to vocals and guitar when touring. A former member of various bands, Duncan also experienced a lack of passion with musicians. He pursued a solo career to avoid musicians using music as a gateway to fame.
“It’s hard to find people who just want to play,” he said. “I’m not trying to be a rock star. I’m just trying to play music.”
Although he enjoys blues and jazz fusion, he cites Jimmy Hendrix, B.B. King and Beethoven as his influences. He also enjoys Pink Floyd and the jazz band Return to Forever.
“When I’m playing out, I like to play [Hendrix’s] “Little Wing” first; it’s a good warm-up song,” he said. “But B.B. King is my hero. He’s still kicking it, touring at 83.”
As viewers raged around through clouds of smoke and listened to the reverberation of amplifiers, the theme was unity and discovery. Geny Pigs is working with local record label Spot Records on recording a CD.
“We hope to be in the studio next month, recording our CD,” Murawski said. “We’d love to sign with Epitaph or Hellcat Records, but it’s not about making money. We just want people to see that there is still music.”