What better way to spend a long Memorial Day weekend than in the seedier parts of Las Vegas with some of the best punk rock bands on the planet. Sure, it’s billed as “Punk Rock Bowling,” but the bowling is only a small part of the goings on. Three days of the music festival plus another thirteen club shows over the course of the weekend and there was plenty to do without setting foot onto a bowling lane.
The festival kicked off on a hot, windy afternoon … the line of patrons waiting to get in huddled in the shade around the corner from the entrance. Dirty Filthy Mugs and The Grim got the crowd primed for the day and by the time Austin-based Krum Bums hit the stage, things went bananas in large part due to their front man’s antics and who managed to soak me with beer no fewer than three times in the course of their first three songs. Exactly what I needed … something for the desert grit to stick to as it blew uninterrupted down 6th Street before hitting the Punk Rock Bowling festival stage.
Filthy Thieving Bastards (members of Swingin’ Utters) and Aggrolites (dirty reggae) brought a bit of sophistication back as the sun set on the desert and before Stiff Little Fingers blew the crowd away. Don’t get me wrong, Dropkick Murphys are a force and seeing a stage packed with women belting out Kiss Me is something to behold, but SLF absolutely stunned. Here’s a band that’s been around since the dawn of punk, still delivering a blistering performance more than three decades later. Certainly the biggest surprise of the day.
The festival wrapped up at 11 pm … 8 bands and a long day in the sun behind me. Time to pack it in? Oh, hell no. Four tempting club shows ahead but there was no debate which one I’d be at … ALL reuniting with all three singers playing with Dave Smalley’s Down By Law and Karl Alvarez’s Endless Monster. A truly awesome way to end the day that was certainly more meaningful for those in attendance than any single band they may have seen earlier in the day.
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