Alaska is known for many things, but one thing Alaska is not known for is its punk music scene. Believe it or not there is an alive and thriving punk scene in the state, and one of the best places to start, for those interested in finding out more, is the usually twice a month Punk Monday show at Pasta Avanti. The show usually has a lineup of around four or five local bands. People of all ages are welcomed, and one can be certain you will see a wide variety of people there.
This last Punk Monday, on February 29th, the crowd was as lively as ever. People were dancing and singing along with their favorite local bands. The band Valtiel seemed to be a personal favorite for a number of people. The band is heavier and has more of metal sound to it compared to the other bands. The other bands being: Moonicorn, Junkyard Jesse, and Captain Overthrow. Moonicorn was another fan favorite. They tap into the more psychedelic side of punk, the lead singer Tatiana Agnew bellowing into the microphone to strange, almost foreign sounds. Despite the oddity of it all, Moonicorn still managed to produce music one can easily dance to.
The atmosphere at these shows is friendly. Friends, or perhaps a few strangers who happen to like their clothing choices often greet people at the door with a shower of hugs. Clothing in fact seems to be a big part of the show; the colorful array of styles is almost as captivating as the music. Mars Cahill, a frequently seen person at these events and a creative dresser, says punk is about, “Expressing yourself in a radical way.” Cahill’s statement permeated the atmosphere of this last Punk Monday. From teenagers in patched up and studded jean vests, to men with graying beards, all sorts of people show up to support the energetic musicians and to express themselves in whatever way they found “radical.”
Not only does the crowd appear to have fun, but it’s clear to see the musicians are enjoying themselves just as much. Their mannerisms went from head banging, to jumping up and down, to laid back swaying. Not a one, of those singing at least, seemed to stand still for even a moment. The energy in the room was of the electric kind that you can almost feel humming in your chest. Ramsey Schumacher, a former member of a local punk band with a name not quite suitable for print, said about performing at punk shows, “Everyone is really supportive,” and went on to tell anyone considering starting a band of their own, “It’s a good place to start playing.”
Punk Monday is a great place to start for anyone looking to get into Alaska’s local punk scene, or really anyone who just wants a fun and exciting experience. The music may be an acquired taste, but don’t knock it until you try it. In the words of a member of the band Pole Smortum, Noah Judge, “It’s both a social thing and a musical thing…get out and support our local music scene.”