Whiskey Rebels – S/T

There isn’t much that gets my blood boiling like a good and spirited street-punk record. I mean, I’ve never had a mohawk, never wore bondage pants, and I don’t have any piercings or tattoos. You could barely say I have any punk aesthetics whatsoever. If anything, I look like your average rock-n-roll lovin’ pseudo-redneck, but looks are deceiving. But enough about such things. One quality that quality street punk should have is spirit. A good street-punk band will have heart and spirit but never lose sight of having fun. Oh, and a good street-punk band is powered by lots of booze. Thus we have the Whiskey Rebels, a fairly by-the-books band that still brings the rock.
This record kicks off with a drunken sing-along that I’m sure occurs on any given night in their hometown of Sacramento. The opener, “Whiskey Rebels,” is also the band’s theme song based on the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. After just a few more songs, I’m convinced that these guy would be the best drinking buddies of all time. They love punk rock. I love punk rock. They love English football. I love English football. And we both like drinking. Its a match made in the pub.
The band’s lyrical content mostly concerns their hometown of Sacromento, much akin to the way Avail sings about various things that go on in Richmond, VA. Songs like “Sacto United,” “Sacto Pride,” and “Summertime” all detail the problems of their town but contain an over-riding message that no matter how shitty their town may be sometimes, it’s still home and they still love it. Other songs deal with typical street-punk stuff like drinking, living on the street, and government oppression of the common man.
But back to the song “Sacto Pride.” This is my favorite song on the record. It has gruff singing from Big Chuck, rousing gang vocals, and a feel that is just as much Lynyrd Skynyrd dirt-road rock-n-roll as its spirited street punk. These songs about where bands are from, especially if they aren’t about a major city, hit home with me. I live in what a lot of people consider a crappy town and sometimes it is a boring dump, but I live here and I love it. Some towns people just don’t understand unless they live there, whether it be Sacromento, Richmond, or Columbia, SC.
Its too bad the Whiskey Rebels don’t make it outside of northern California very often because I think their live show would be beer-and-sweat-soaked good time. Apparently they go to Atlanta every year for the Beer Olympics so I guess I will have to check that out. This is a good record. It’s street punk alright, but its got a “country”-type feeling to it. And the fact that the Whiskey Rebels have alot of place-specific lyrics doesn’t alienate me at all; in fact, it ignites empathy with people who understand where this band is coming from, literally and figuratively.