Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Whistlepunk Photos

The scene was loads of fun just a few hours ago at the Vandalia Lounge, as Whistlepunk tore through a rip-roaring set of killer original tunes and well-chosen alternative covers. It’s late, so I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking.

Whistlepunk is:

Spencer Elliott


Dan Jordan


and Brian Young


You can hear a sample of Whistlepunk as last week’s Song Of The Week, and any day now, you’ll be able to see them on the pilot episode of Radio Free Charleston.

As an added treat, Sean Richardson, of The Sleeping Dons, joined the band for a classic song from his days as lead singer for Strawfyssh, one of the favorite bands of the original RFC era. You can catch The Sleeping Dons at the Vandalia Lounge for Happy Hour at the Vandalia Lounge every Wednesday in July. And you can hear a sample of their music here.

It was a great night for alternative music in Charleston. A late night, too. Time to go to bed.


  1. Jackie Treehorn

    The Vandalia Lounge is the “Brokeback Mountain” of bars, boring and gay.

  2. Anonymous

    Somebody must not own a shirt with a collar.

    Great topical reference, by the way, how many months have you been waiting to make that crack? If by “boring” you mean nobody gets shot, then you may have a point (on top of your head). And you think it’s “gay”? What a critique! What are you, fourteen?

  3. Wednesday's Child

    I would just say Vandalia is “over-hyped”. I a town starving for entertainment the VL is a good bone to chew on. To illustrate my point – just look through recent Gazz articles on what is going on in Charleston. You’ll see the same boring names over and over. Whistlepunk seems to be the flavor of the month – oh boy! Let’s relive the Strawfysh and Mother Nang days (there were enough drugs back then to tolerate this noise – but not today.) Art in Charleston is the same – anyone else ready to puke if we see another article or photo of Amy Williams and her t-shirts or fish? Either there is little to cover in Charleston or the clique is simply too busy orally pleasuring each other to notice anything else. That’s what makes Charleston boring.

  4. Anonymous

    Just as before, anytime something cool springs up in Charleston, the bitter tiny people come out of the woodwork to crap all over it. Have to stomp the life out of the music scene before it becomes vital again for the first time in years.

    Kill it quick, so we can be stuck with the Crapenter Ants, Voodoo Katz, and Mountain Stage for another decade. Heaven forbid we get some real alternatives here in town. Mother Nang and Strawfyssh were great bands, better than most of the noise that we get in town today. IF those guys are still making music, I want to know about it.

    Anytime anyone local gets any kind of attention, the accusations start flying about “cliques” and other garbage. It’s easier to bitch than to make good art or music of your own that merits any coverage.

    If you find the town so boring, please leave. Your absence would make it less boring.

  5. Anonymous

    Plus, Vandalia books all sorts of bands that kick butt, like the Natalie Wells Band. And only a truly insecure Person With Issues would decry the place as ‘gay.’ There’s more well-dressed heterosexual longing on display, by far.

  6. Anonymous

    Obviously you missed the point – Is the VL all that it is hyped – no. And, the over-hyping will kill it. I’m glad there is a place to go that doesn’t smell like fresh urine (The Empty Glass seems to think it’s a badge of honor)and that is trying to present a variety of music. My point was the coverage the Gazz gives over and over to the same people at the expense of others. This narrow view does Charleston a diservice. This IS a boring little town – but no as boring as it would appear by reading the Gazz.

    The clique is alive and well in Charleston unfortunately, and they write for The Gazz!

  7. Rudy Panucci


    Please, tell me of these “others”. I’m open to any new local bands or musicians. They have to have the guts to step forward and tell me who they are. I’ll be looking for new artists to put on Radio Free Charleston, so if you know of anyone who can hold their own against Whistlepunk or The Sleeping Dons, I’d be thrilled to check them out.

    I’ve been a virtual hermit for the past fifteen years. If I’m in a clique, I wish somebody would tell me about it. I haven’t been attending the meetings.

    The Vandalia Lounge is a great place–I’ve been there twice (three times by tonight, if the rain lets up). I write about the places I go. That’s what we do in blogs. I used to go to the Empty Glass all the time, but haven’t been there lately–tobacco sensitivity issues and all. You tell me where all these mysterious bands are playing in Charleston that I haven’t been able to find yet. I want them to be on my new webcast.

    But I’ll let you in on a secret–I write about the bands whose music I enjoy. You won’t earn any brownie points with me by insulting my favorite area musicians. I dealt with this grade-school level political crap on the old Radio Free Charleston radio show. My policy then was that I’d play anything any local band sent in at least once. I discovered that the folks who complained about me playing favorites were the ones who were too lazy to submit any of their own music.

    So, consider this a challenge: You think I’m missing out on a really great local band–point me to them, name names, tell me where they’re playing. I’m not omnipotent–you guys have to do a little self-promotion.

  8. Gr8 D8 4 U

    So why is a hermit writing on pop culture?

  9. Rudy Panucci


    Good question, I said “Virtual hermit,” not a real one. šŸ™‚

    I spent the last nine years caring for my sick mother, and hardly got out at all during that time. She passed away earlier this year. Now I’ve been able to get out and experience live entertainment again. I write about Pop Culture because you can do that from home. I’ve got cable and the internet, and those are the dominant media for pop culture these days. Now that I can get back in the live entertainment loop, I can write about more local live events.

    And I’m serious, If there’s any new talent out there, I’m talking about bands, comedians, animators or film makers, that would like to submit work to be on Radio Free Charleston, or just be covered in PopCult, email me at

    If your band is playing out somewhere, let me know. You have a CD or just a demo, let me know about it. You have some short, weird experimental films that you think might work on RFC, email me.

    Back on my old radio show, I had a steady stream of musicians who would corner me and complain about me playing the same local bands over and over all the time on the show. I’d ask them for a tape, promise to play it, and never hear from them again. I was very democratic back then. I’d play any local artist at least once. In 8 months I played over 300 songs by over 250 local artists. I also took requests, and there was no question that some bands were more popular than others. Some bands also took the initiative and supplied me with fresh material on a regular basis.

    But you have to contact me if you want any coverage. If you’re just jamming in your basement and not playing live, send me an MP3. If it’s good, I’ll write about it. But you guys have to meet me halfway–I can’t write about you if I don’t know you exist.

  10. Janice

    Rudy, good job, bringing back RFC. It’s great to see you doing your thing again.

  11. diggo

    I will agree that Rudy is very democratic about his show. Because of this, there will be bands, sounds, & people that you do not care for. Thats what makes it interesting. IF you want the same old crap over and over listen to comercial radio, not Radio “FREE”
    As to the Vandalia Lounge, it is a good place to have a good beer or drink, it is not overly smoky, or overly loud, the chairs/couchs are comfortable, and the staff and service is really good !!
    TO EACH HIS OWN.. BUT WHY ALL THE POT SHOTS?? Its not as if anyone is well paid, or that well though of either.. its just people tryin to do their thing.

Leave a Reply

© 2024 PopCult

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑