PUNK ROCK BOWLING Downtown Las Vegas May 2014
Very hot and got hotter over the weekend. Ended up over 100 degrees by the end of the festival. At least there were bars with fan misters in an attempt to keep people cool.
Big congregation of punks (black clothes in the heat was not great!) average punters walking around Downtown were surprised by the amount dyed and spiky hair styles!
Seeing adult skateboarders around the place was unusual for us Brits. A few punch ups thrown in for good measure.
Saturday May 24th
Saturday was UK invasion day; many of the bands had come over specially.
Created by Rancid bassist Matt Freeman, Devils Brigade pulled a good crowd considering it was earlier in the day. Freeman didn’t have his double bass which was a shame, but they punched out punk and rockabilly songs. They ended their set with a Dead Kennedys cover “Police Truck".
Peter and the Test Tube Babies
Peter started off by thanking everyone for an awesome pool party earlier in the day. They had stepped in at the last minute when The Queers pulled out. The band blasted out their usual comedy punk songs. It started to rain and Peter apologised for bringing the English rain with him. Some people seemed a bit confused by their songs, especially "Never Made It", and during “Up Your Bum” one of the security guards looked as though he couldn't believe his ears!
Mensi and co went down a storm too, I’m a upstart and leave me alone were particularly good. Mensi kept saying he was the best looking punk in the business and has the crowd laughing in between songs with his banter.
Rockier side of punk, the crowd loved them, Animal sings we are the league, with the lyrics “ you criticise us, you say were shit but were up here and were doing it and yes they are 30 years on and they are still here.
Everyone singing along to classics such as “Woman”, “So What” and “I Hate People”.
This was the first of their two shows over the weekend and they went down a storm. With a cut down set, this was a fast straight at them gig, Vegas chanted along to “England Belongs to me”. It was weird to see hotels right next to the venue and Colin, the lead singer, was wondering if there were people in the hotel trying to sleep, and told a nearby hotel to man up, “this is Vegas; we're going to keep playing!”
Roy Ellis played one of the late night club shows, in the Beauty Bar. The Beauty Bar was themed as a salon; seats even had domed hairdryers above them! The gig was out the back in an open air courtyard. It was sold out (as were all club shows over the PRB weekend). The lighting wasn’t excellent (there was none) and Roy Ellis the Boss Skinhead was back, who had a beautiful gold suit on kept commenting that he must look like just a suit jumping around the stage with white teeth. He said that he could see the crowd no problem as we were all white! He put on an excellent show playing songs old and new, leaping and spinning around on stage, backed by the Hurricanes band.
Sunday May 25th
Their first time playing at PRB. Pop punk band wore coloured balaclavas on stage and sang fun songs about robbing you. A ‘cop’ came out during one of their new songs and pretended to beat people up and arrest them. They got girls to dance on stage with them at one point. Before heading offstage they demanded “buy our record or we will rob you, I'm not even fucking joking!”
Canadian Skate punk band with only one constant member, the legendary Ken Chinn. Bearded white haired men the came on stage to do a rare performance and roared songs out to the crowd including better than Eddie vedder.
Playing with a complete line up, including ‘He Who Cannot Be Named’ in a leather jockstrap and wrestling mask. Blag yelled out offensive Dwarves classics in a frenzy, as usual talk of women and drugs abound. Highlight was “Let’s Get High and Fuck Some Sluts”. At one point Blag brought a fan on stage to sing “I Will Deny” and ended with blag kicking the drums all over the stage in true Dwarves style..
These guys always put on a show and they didn’t disappoint this time. Lead singer Monkey came on in his trademark suit and face paint and proceeded to throw playing cards into the crowd as “Joker in the Pack” was belted out by the band. Streamers and confetti were tossed over the crowd throughout the whole set, decorating the arena and stage. A flying ‘drone’ had been filming bands over the weekend, and despite people trying to throw empty bottles at it the thing that finally took it down was a streamer from a confetti canyon!
“Viva La Revolution” had the best sing along of all, and the beach balls chucked out at end went down a storm.
The Californian punk band who apparently don’t do a lot of shows any more and only seem to play festivals opened with “Everything Sux”, sung in Milo’s recognisable voice. Other songs were classics like “When I Get Old”, “Nothing with You” and “Suburban Home”. A favourite with the crowd.
Cock Sparrer - Backstage Bar
Billed as ‘Special Guests’ this was the least kept secret of the weekend. The tickets had sold out in minutes and the venue was packed out the door with people scrambling to see these legends playing a smaller venue. They did not disappoint, and despite playing a similar set (but very extended) to the previous day every song went down a storm. This is the way to see Sparrer play, connecting with a close up and personal audience. They even played the rarely heard “The Sun Says”. This gig was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend, even the band had big smiled on their faces.
Monday May 26th
Monday was way too hot, going past a hundred degrees. This was not the day for wearing black! The crowd was a little sparser as punters were trying to keep out of sun, coupled with many days of drinking and debauchery.
Plaza Hotel and Casino
The day started early there was pool party at the Plaza hotel at 1.30 right in the middle of the heat of 100+ degrees with the pool boys featuring members from various bands including Blag from the dwarves, Pete and Monkey from the Adicts, Melony Felony from the Objex. It was good to see Band members come along and play this show it was on a roof top at the pool but they guys were relaxed and there to have some fun Blag and Melony did a duet of KKK took my baby away bit it was greases Summer nights that has the crowd singing along as Melony lay on her back and wrapped her legs around blag.. follow that up, well the Adicts did first of all Monkey did a rare appearance with out make up as he pointed out it was too hot and they did an great version of the dammed neat neat and followed up by Vive la revolution and Pete at the end got on his roadies shoulder wade through the crowd and was thrown into the pool..
Loud, heavy and angry as ever, Keith Morris and Off shouted their way through the set. Lots of quiet talking between songs.
American pop punk band from New York with heavy and ska elements mixed together. The heat started to ease a little for their set (well it dropped below a hundred at least!) as the sun set. Political songs and anti-homophobia sentiments. The singer struggled a bit with the tuneful songs despite saying he'd been saving his voice and not partying and his first sober gig in ages. They ended with the classic "Gang Control".
This Florida band was one of the more tuneful over the weekend. A large crowd came down, and it helped that the sun had now set. A few of the newer songs were played about gender diversity, a topical choice being that the lead singer is currently going through the transition. The band proved themselves to be good musicians with good lyrics, but I couldn’t help feeling they lacked a little passion. However the crowd loved them and they were a good choice for the penultimate act.
Despite coming on stage a little late, these seasoned pros bounded on with enthusiasm and amusing banter. Fat Mike is a veteran of PRB and it showed. The made up a little ditty about who’s going to be the first to OD at PRB – very amusing!
“72 Hookers” went down well; there was talk about different races attending the festival.
The trumpeter showed off his skills during the slower “We March to the Beat of Indifferent Drum” with a ska esque vibe.
At one point Mike paid tribute to his best friend Tony Sly who passed away, and said the festival isn't as good without him.
Huge roars went up when they started playing “Linoleum” and “Don’t Call Me White” where Mike knelt at the front and interacted with the security guards.
They finished with "The Quitter” before the obligatory encore, where we were treated to 5 more songs including “Bottles on the Ground”.
And in between all this there was also a bowling tournament scattered around various venues around vegas.
Special mention to the much and often maligned security guards, these guys in the pit were excellent, when crowd surfers came over dealt with them appropriately and carefully, made sure they were ok and got them back in the crowd asap and all this in baking heat and even didn’t bat an eyelid when a wheel chair came over during the Adicts set.
Words by Sally ( most of them ) and Dod Morrison