So many times I hear a band and I think, “that is punk” just because I’m really am digging it. Then as I think on it more, I’m looking/listening for that one common thread that would officially classify something as punk music and have yet to find it.

As soon as I think, it’s a rapid, driving, furiously fast beat then I listen to a slow diddy from Rancid or the Casualties or any number of bands and I’m like wait a minute, that is punk too.

I’ve considered putting together an i-tunes compilation of “EZ Listening” punk if you will, because so many punk bands have a ballad or two in their repertoire, be it a reggae inspired dub song or straight up ballad (my all time favorite, “Winners and Losers” by Social Distortion.. check it out).

Night Marchers at the Siren Music Festival in NYC

So if it’s not the beat, then maybe it’s the band itself. Must be DIY, independent without a major record label right? but then do we disqualify Green Day or Offspring or Bad Religion or Rancid or Rise Against or anybody with a modicum of success? Some say yes, but I say no.

While I can hardly even listen to Green Day’s contemporary stuff it has nothing to do with their mainstream success. I just don’t like their music anymore. It’s bland to me. But that is just me.

But I don’t think bands should ever be punished for being successful. Being successful should not be confused as “selling out”. But that’s a whole different post and just can’t get into that debate here. The bottom line is, I often hear music that maybe isn’t quite punk, but I dig it nonetheless.

Which brings me to this weekend when I made my way by train to bask in the hot ass sun at what passes for a beach in NYC, Coney Island; land of misfits, carnival rides and an era that harks back a few decades. It’s as good a spot as any to hold an “alternative” or “independent” music festival like the aptly named “Siren Music Festival”. It ain’t pretty, it’s sort of gross and it’s a good place for those who certainly don’t belong in the Hamptons or even the Jersey Shore.

Playing Under A Classic Coney Island Icon

But alas, while many punks are different, just because someone is different doesn’t make them a punk and the Siren Music Festival should never be confused as a punk show.

It was however, “punkish” with a few bands that have tipped their hat or dipped their toe into the genre on the bill, like Ted Leo and the Pharmicists. Not knowing much about their music, that is the band I originally came to see.

But when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a band from San Diego called “Night Marchers”. It took me a song or two to warm up to the guys, but after a few songs, both I and the crowd were digging em. I don’t think they are punk, but I do hear some resemblances to another Southern California band “Social Distortion” (at least their more contemporary stuff). And any band that starts a song with a chorus of “yehoooos” calls and response from the citified crowd is going to get my punkabilly stamp of approval inked and ready.

If you’ve read this Vlog much you probably know I’m a big Social D. fan and a fan of SoCal Punk music in general, so I hope you can forgive the lack of objectivity when listening to a band like “Night Marchers” but I really liked them.

Alas, I didn’t last in the wilting heat in Coney Island for any more bands including the band I originally came to see. I literally could not take the heat and my face was red as a beet after just an hour or so in the Coney Island Sun (note to self, sunscreen, towel, sunglasses on the next trip).

But I promised coverage from the Siren Music Festival and here it is. Below is a video of Night Marchers from San Diego performing in the sweltering NYC heat. Let me know what you think.

– Videos, Pics and Coverage from the Punks vs. Psycho event from Brooklyn, NYC
– More Videos from The Rock Al Parque Festival in Bogota a couple of weeks back.
– GBH in Concert in NYC (can’t wait!)

so stay the hell tuned MFs ok?!

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