Not many people have meant as much as to Louisville’s punk/indie rock scene as singer Rob Pennington. For 30 plus years, he’s been one of this cities most prolific vocalists singing for a slew of great bands. Notable acts that RP has fronted include Endpoint, By the Grace of God, Black Cross, and most recently, Black God. This person had a major impact on me personally not only as a fan of music, but as a person overall. He’s remained a beacon of infectious positivity, always speaking out for the disadvantaged and underappreciated folks. Everyone that’s been involved in Louisville’s punk/hardcore/indie rock scene over the last 3 decades plus has benefited from Rob in one way or another as he’s been one of the most relatable, but respectable dudes in town for a long, long time.
Sadly for me and my disdain of change, Mr. Pennington is uprooting from the Derby City and relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina, ultimately deciding the fate of any and all bands that he’s been a part of over the years. Read about Rob and his wife Becca Lindsey’s decision to move at LEO Weekly, then make plans to see Black God and Becca’s band Julie of the Wolves play their final show this Saturday at Zanzabar; go here for more details.
To commemorate my love and appreciation for Rob, I thought it’d be fun to look back and hand pick five of my favorite songs that he was a part of. Some of them are pretty popular, some not so much. Either way, this our very small way of sending one of Louisville’s favorite sons off into the sunset in style… for now. I’m sure he’ll be back at some point, it’s in his blood.
ENDPOINT – “Caste”
A true Louisville hardcore classic, “Caste” has a formulaic punk rock approach opening with an aggressive guitar riff and pummeling drum section that quickly evolves into one of my favorite break downs ever. By the time I first heard this in the late 00’s, Endpoint had already become somewhat of a relic. The song was first released in 1992, so I was almost a decade late to the Endpoint party. Nevertheless, like a ton of folks, this band was hugely responsible for sparking my love of punk and hardcore, especially this song.
A blistering uptempo banger that only lets up at the end, this has always been my favorite BTGOG song. I could be wrong (as I often am when relating to lyrics), but I always received the lyrics to this song as having an anti-domestic abuse message. I’m never sure of anything, however, so don’t take my word for it. Either way, this song will make you do a backflip through a god damned wall.
Is Ousia the most underrated indie rock band in Louisville history? Probably. They only released one selftitled 7inch (which is fucking awesome), but my personal favorite song from the band appeared on a compilation CD called In Native Soil which was released by Noise Pollution. The name of the song is Nickel Lip Service, a toe-tapping art rock tune with a groovy bass and guitar combo served over an simple yet acrobatic drum beat as Rob rhythmically follows suite.
With Black Cross and Black God, Rob’s voice always pairs nicely with Ryan Patterson’s growling screams. This track, which was released when the band was still called Black Widows, is a heavy-as-fuck take on hardcore with thick, gritty guitar riffs and a punishing drums. Per usual with BC, Pennington takes center stage as the singing front man, but Patterson’s brief vocal part really elevates the brutal force behind this heavy hitter.
This song really summarizes what Black God is in a nutshell as a devolved version of Black Cross in that the band makes really short punk rock songs with really simple, but effective guitar riffs. Lasting just a minute and thirty nine seconds, you’re never given the opportunity to get bored waiting for the next killer riff. The minimalist attitude this band has embraced really makes way for Rob’s unique pitch and cadence.