Whistle Pig Brings Punk to the People

In the cold darkness of Monday night on Nov. 16, two things came pouring out of the doors of Whistle Pig Korean: light and hell of a noise. From a block away came the gritty guitar and fast-paced drums of punk rock — a rare sound in Bozeman, to be sure. Two local punk groups joined the headliners Cut Up, on tour from San Francisco. The openers were the long-time local bands 6P3 and SBD.

The three-piece outfit 6P3 kicked off the night with a set of hard-driving, head-banging songs. The band has been playing out of Bozeman for years, and the experience shows in their performance. They are totally at ease and seem to have nailed a sound that works for them. Despite having only one guitarist and one bassist the sound is full and fleshed-out. They carry this practiced experience with a light-hearted attitude, even playing one song about how they had rocked hard in the past but have since gotten too old.

The headliners Cut Up took the second slot. The Bay Area based group is on tour, and decided to make the trip to Bozeman due to some connections with Whistle Pig’s co-owner Ross Franklin. Cut Up is a four-piece band consisting of lead and rhythm guitar, bass and drums. All of which contribute to the rough, yet melodic sound that the group produces on a massive scale. It’s the kind of music that makes it impossible to sit still; something about it just makes you want to move, as if the solid wall of sound is literally moving you back and forth.

Local group SBD finished up the night. SBD stands out as a punk band due to the inclusion of an electronic keyboard alongside the traditional bass, guitar and drums. While distorted guitar riffs wailed and deep baselines kicked, the electronic keyboard was ever-present — sometimes mirroring or complimenting riffs, other times producing a melody all its own. It’s an interesting combination of grit and quirk — much like the band itself. Almost every band member wore a shirt with some kind of fantasy character on it (no less than two unicorns and one dragon) and one of their songs was happily introduced as “Laser Cats.” Unique to say the least.

Overall this proved to be a rather unusual concert for Bozeman. This is in large part thanks to Whistle Pig’s co-owner Franklin, who founded the business with his wife. The two met while they were both teaching English in South Korea.

“When we decided to open the business I wanted to do something with music, and my wife wanted to do something with food,” Franklin said. Thus Whistle Pig was born. Not just food, but a forum for local music. At first the focus of the restaurant was on food, but Franklin says that after about a year they began to host regular live shows. At first they were intermittent, but Franklin designed a huge undertaking for this past summer — a live show with two bands every Saturday night for the entire summer. The series of shows culminated in a compilation album of 15 different singles from as many local bands, all produced and distributed under Franklin’s own Whistle Pig Records. The album can be currently found at Cactus Records.

Franklin said that shows will be less often during the winter and spring, but by no means will they stop. The next bands to play will be Modern Sons, Panther Car and Chairea on Dec. 13. Be sure to stop by — entry to all shows is free, and you can’t go wrong supporting such a great forum for local music.