‘Cabin Rap’ Not For Everyone

Jeremia Schrock

Sun Star Reporter

Last Friday, Sept. 10, the Pub hosted a self-labeled “sell-out show” (not to be confused with a “sold out” show as there was no cover charge)  by local rap group The Phineas Gauge. However, concert-goers be warned: The Phineas Gauge is not for everyone.

While labeling themselves as a band that plays “cabin rap,” their sound is closer to what one would imagine post-apocalyptic stoner funk would sound like. With electric guitars, a turntable, and a drum kit, Phineas Gauge is anything but your usual local garage band. Or, in this case, cabin band.

Hailing from the Goldstream Valley north of Fairbanks, the band is based around the vocal stylings of Sonny Golden and Raif Johnson-Kennedy. Their songs are pre-written but sound off-the-cuff, leading the audience to feel as if they had just happened upon an impromptu rap-battle.

While several of the songs they played appeared to have an overall message, others felt more like romps through the absurd. There were even moments when it seemed as though the band was channeling the creative spirit of Lewis Carroll-ala-Jabberwocky. Then again, the band’s MySpace page lists them as not only rap, but as “experimental.”

However, absurdity does not always translate well to a musical environment. It appeared that many pub patrons were there more for the beer than the music.  Stephanie Parsel, a concert-goer, felt that while the band was “entertaining and amusing” that they were not the best she’d seen. “[They’re] not my favorite, but not horrendous.”

Tony Foran, who had accompanied Parsel to the concert, said that while he was not usually a fan of rap, that the band was certainly “not bad.” He later added that he and his friends had only gone to the pub because “they just wanted beer.”

At several points throughout the evening,Golden attempted to get the audience more involved in the show.  He went so far as to complain about the lack of free beers he and the band had received. Less then five minutes later, one heavily tattooed gentleman strode up on stage, half-a-dozen beers in hand, signifying that clearly the band was not without its fans.


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