By Bridget Keenan
Sinfonia had a pretty good show this weekend, which consisted of four bands, all of the genre of either punk, indie or metal. All of the bands consisted of Lawrentians, and many students showed up to hear their original music. For the most part, their musicianship was good, and the song content was on flick. From what I could tell, the overall audience response to the show was positive and I believe that more students should get involved in the punk scene.
Punk has been one of my great passions since coming to Lawrence. I have loved music my entire life, and had always wanted the opportunity to be more intensely involved in its production. I went to my first punk show at the Train Station, a local punk venue, last year and I have gone to every possible show since. I wouldn’t call myself an expert on the scene, but I do consider myself a member. I’ve only recently tried my skills at songwriting; but I do plan to one day play and write my own music.
Personally, I have found the punk scene to be a great asset. It allows freedom of expression and identity that it is difficult to find anywhere else. Many people think of punk entirely in terms of music; but it is really a culture more so than a genre. Punk is a movement against the grain of current popular culture and social norms. Leftist politics are key to punk ideology. The punk scene makes itself present as a radical liberal space for misfits, and a place of catharsis for those who would otherwise have none.
As an extreme liberal, and a queer woman, I have never really fit into anyone’s definition of mainstream culture. Since this came as a shock to me initially, I spent a lot of time contemplating ideas that bothered me and how they came to exist. When I came to college, I was fully about to realize that there are other people like myself; many of whom felt the same way and came to the same conclusions. As someone who has always been a radical person, it only seemed fitting that I would express these feelings and beliefs somewhere safe.
The punk scene is one of the only places where I can go free of judgement. A safe space is a place in which everyone is free to express their thoughts and ideas without having to fear for their safety. Although no one says it, the punk venues I’ve been to are a premium example. This personal freedom is tied together by shared political beliefs and music taste. I’ve found this radical counter-culture ethos very empowering, and I have reason to believe that others feel the same.
While small, the Appleton punk scene is fairly accessible to Lawrentians. Last year, I was surprised to find out that Appleton had a notable punk venue less than half a mile away from campus, and that’s not the only one within walking distance. Admittedly, the local subculture has experienced low activity lately, but that’s another issue for another day. Although the Lawrentian turnout is often small, the option of attending a local punk show is always there.
It’s not that there aren’t people on campus who enjoy the subculture. On the contrary, some Lawrentians live, sleep and breathe scene music. Although I know a lot of people who love music individually, we don’t have much of a community. The bands we have had on campus for the past few years have been few and far between, and the people interested in booking shows even fewer.
I would like to see more independent punk music on campus. I greatly enjoyed the event at Sinfonia this weekend, and our mosh pit easily put FED UP Fest to shame. Although there are many musical outlets on campus, it is really punk that I would like to see fall into the spotlight. It will take some adjustment for anybody; but the time and circumstances are right for a push.
Lawrence punks are off to a good start. Many of my friends compose their own music and are more than willing to play in a band. I was completely surprised by how many people with wardrobes and styles coded as punk I saw this weekend, so hopefully punk events will be able to grow interest in the future.