Medellin, Colombia – July 8th, 2010
What is punk? How far can you push the boundaries of punk (are their boundaries in punk?) and who is qualified to define punk anyway?
Some purist insist ska has no relation to punk while others insist it most certainly does, and if that is the case, can we go as far to say reggae is t related or maybe at least a distant cousin we can chill or party with?
What about Psychobilly, Rockabilly, Punkabilly? Hardcore? Metal core? Skacore? All valid questions and for the purposes of this particular post, I’m gonna try to not to get hung up on that age old question of “what is punk?” and leave it for the fans, bands and punks to tell us in the eventual and forthcoming documentary “Punktology.. the worldwide philosophy of punk”.
In the meantime, I think that good music is good music and if punks (whether those punks have mohawks, colored hair, tattoos, piercings or not…punks know who they are), enjoy the music, then chances are the music is indeed punk or at the least “punkish”.
When my friend Jorge from Colombian Punk told me about an industrial punk show going down in Medellin last night, I’ll admit I wasn’t very excited, even though he clearly was.
I think it was because the term “industrial” conjured up images of Nine Inch Nails, maybe Rob Zombie… and a bunch of goth’s dressed in vampire outfits. Now I like and respect both NIN and Rob Zombie as artists and even have a song or two of theirs but I don’t consider their music punk. Alternative, edgy, yes… but punk no way and I think most punks would agree with me on that one, regardless of how wide they cast their punk net, Goth is a different animal.
But Jorge is super plugged into the Colombian punk scene and he is punk to the core, (he and I even debated if early Offspring was punk or not, I say firmly “yes” and he says “no” but I am going to change his mind by playing him some songs from the early years of the Offspring that DIDN’T get radio airplay).
So if Jorge’s excited about a band, it’s usually with good reason and turns out he was right. “Neus” was the headliner and they’ve been rocking the Colombian and South American punk scene for 18 years!
The venue was a new one and was really nice but had old fashioned chicken wire to separate the band from the crowd which added a cool touch. But this crowd wasn’t going to throw bottles at Neus, they loved them, and by the end of the night so did I.
Despite having never heard even one of their songs before, I liked almost every song they played and it became clear, this band is tight. The lead singer, who is somewhat legend in these parts, came into the stage area sporting a mohawk and a very creative outfit consisting of duct tape, some crazy ass shoes and pants with sunglasses that had one of the lens completely gone.
The drummer and one guitarist wore an executioner’s hood and the other guitarist an evil looking lucha libra (Mexican wrestling) mask. As imposing as they looked, their sound was even better and they let their music do the talking.
This band was tight and one of the best Colombian bands I’ve seen in Medellin ranking up there with I.R.A., Fertil Miseria or Los Suziox (Andres, lead singer of Los Suziox and his friend, and now mine, Faber went with me to the concert).
The crowd had their favorite songs of course and towards the end of the night the chicken wire was on the floor as the band and crowd become one in typical punk rock fashion, and the fans sang along to every word of every song.
On the way into the venue I was sort of talked into buying a CD of Neus (for like U.S. $3.50) and not knowing the band, just considered it a donation to the Medellin music scene. But after the concert and meeting Neus, I’m now damn glad I bought it and can’t wait to get home and put it on my ipod.
Neus plays the kind of music that makes you want to pump your fist, bob your head and maybe even join a wrecking pit. Now if that’s not punk music, I don’t know what is, do you?
For more pics of the Neus concert check out the set on our FLIKR PAGE and below is a video of one of their songs from the night. Warning this is FLIPCAM footage and the lighting was non existent at the show but hopefully you’ll get the point. Enjoy!