I’m going to start out saying that by the time I already made it to Las Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling Friday night, I blew it. Being a first-timer at the festival which was celebrating its 20th year running, I didn’t realize that arriving late on Friday night to wake up for Saturday’s bowling tournament was not early enough. The Friday night club shows touted great lineups, my biggest disappointment was missing my LA-based favorite, The Bronx, who recently released their 5th studio album. However, I can say, with the hugest sense of FOMO, that I heard that Dwarves, The Shrine, Youth Brigade, T.S.O.L., Fishbone, and as previously mentioned, The Bronx, as well as many other bands, played various late night showcases and rocked hard.
DAY ONE (Officially): SATURDAYUnbeknownst to some, Punk Rock Bowling actually does involve bowling! 158 teams bowled in the two-day long tournament, spread across three different alleys. Gold Coast, Sam’s Town, and Suncoast Bowling Center were filled with bowling degenerates who had come from near and far for a fun day of bowling, nudity, and loud punk rock playlists. By the time that bowling commenced, the main stage festival was already going on right next to the Golden Nugget, the main hotel where most bands and Punk Rock Bowling vets were staying.
Saturday’s line up included Father Figures, Resistance ’77, No!se, D.O.A, The Marked Men, GBH, L7, Suicidal Tendencies, and headliners Rise Against.
GBH was a solid gritty staple of the festival; the English Street Punk band kicked off the evening portion of the show. They were just the right amount of sloppy.
L7 was next in the lineup. Admittedly never a former fan, seeing this band live really made me understand the appeal which I only was able to ever connect with the hilarity of “Camel Lips” in John Water’s film Serial Mom. These ladies were loud and powerful. Their set was tight, and they owned that stage. The driving bass tones and steady beat was impressive. The recently reformed band certainly sounded like no time had passed since their last tour.
Suicidal Tendencies followed up with their anthem-like presences, always amping up the crowd with their call and answer style of performance. The show was promoted as a throwback “Cyco Punk Set” and they delivered just that. The crowd and pit were definitely riled up by the time they were chanting “S.T! S.T! S.T!” for their performance of… “S.T.”
Rise Against closed the night and blew everyone else out of the water. Their sound was golden, their set was tight, the crowd was even more into it, these guys gave a performance that capped the night in a way that couldn’t have been topped.
Regretfully, by the time I learned that the club shows were the way to go, all of the tickets were already sold out. Reports of Dead Boys and Lagwagon shows were among the most raved about. Also on tap for Saturday night were SubHumans, Zero Boys, The Unseen, and many more.
PUNK ROCK BOWLING DAY 01
Photos: Anne Elizabeth Photography