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Street punk (alternatively spelled as Streetpunk) is a working class genre of punk rock which took shape in the early 1980s, partly as a rebellion against the perceived artistic pretensions of the first wave of British punk. Street punk emerged from the Oi! style, performed by bands such as Sham 69, Angelic Upstarts, Cockney Rejects, Cock Sparrer, and UK Subs. However, street punk continued beyond the confines of the original Oi! form. Street punks generally have a much more outlandish appearance than the working class or skinhead image cultivated by many Oi! groups; whereas Oi! groups would typically wear jeans, t-shirts, cropped or shaven heads, and braces, street punks often had multi-coloured hair, mohawks, spike-encrusted leather vests, and clothing with political slogans or the names of punk bands. It has been called “aggressive yet [with] melody…[and] uncorrupted by ‘professionalism’ or ‘musicianship’.”
Street punk music is characterized by two main musical aspects: single note guitar lines and short solos. Unlike similar genres such as hardcore punk, street punk bands often contain two guitarists, one of which plays guitar melodies while not singing. Street punk also makes frequent use of gang vocals and sing–along choruses, one of the aspects the genre borrows from Oi!. The lyrics to most street punk songs often feature condemnation or praise of acts of violence, drinking and drug use, partying, inner-city turmoil, or personal politics. Street punk bands sometimes express political viewpoints, typically of a left-wing variety, although some street punks eschew politics altogether in favor of a more hedonistic, nihilistic outlook.
Punk veteran Felix Havoc offered this description of the style:
“It was aggressive yet had melody. As opposed to today’s “melodic” punk it still had a lot of energy. It was honest. Hence the term “street punk.” There is and was a feel that this was the kids music, from the streets, and was uncorrupted by “professionalism” or “musicianship.” As opposed to the anarcho bands its message was more bleak and irreverent. The music was not a-political, just a less intellectual expression of political views of working class youth. The music was marketed as being of and by the working class. I suspect this was not universally the case. Still most middle and upper class kids cringe at frank discussions of violence as evidenced in a typical Blitz song. Early 80’s UK punk was catchy as hell; it has sing-a-long choruses and hooky riffs.”
Street punk style is highly visible. Dress for a street punk is characterized by leather, metal studs, ripped jeans, and Dr. Martens boots. Hairstyles often include unnatural coloration, liberty spikes or mohawks.
Some street punk bands have included skinheads. A minority of street punk bands — including The Violators, Major Accident, and The Adicts — dressed like the “droogs” who appear in Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange. Other bands, such as Anti-Nowhere League, took inspiration from the dystopian, post-apocalyptic Mad Max films.
(Read more at Wikipedia)