Punk Rock Bowling (Saturday 1 of 2)
Las Vegas, May 24-27, 2019
Punk Rock Bowling’s Opening Day with Fear, Flag, The Casualties, The Damned, and more!
Punk Rock Bowling kicked off their first day of the festival with a stellar line up. Rancid headlined and with openers like The Casualties, The Damned, and Fear, it felt like a punk rock Hall of Fame event. The event ran smooth with ample beer stands, clean bathroom facilities, a variety of food trucks, and merchandise booths that included every band. The security was thorough, but fast and polite and even the line for bag checks felt like a party. The crowd was there for a good time and the air of family and fun was notable as band after band tore the stages apart in what I heard described as “their best show ever!” over and over again. It was truly an environment that welcomed a good time and reflected the unspoken, but overwhelming, message that assholes were not welcome. Punks, activists, ska lovers, and Turbonegro enthusiasts rubbed elbows and passed each other around the pit and when each band finished their set they ran as a group to the next stage to catch the next “best show ever!”
1, 2, 3, 4… 1, 2, 3, 4… It’s Fear!
The current lineup of Fear is so good! With original members Lee Ving on vocals, Philo Cramer on Lead guitar, and Spit Stix on drums how could you go wrong? These veterans are well seasoned and their experience in the scene, which dates back to 1977, is worthy of mad props. Fear are pioneers who braved the new world of punk so you and I could dance and slam and crowd surf. They conjured the release of energy last night on the PRB main stage – Lee Ving gets better with age! Every time I see Fear live I am transformed back to 1984 when I first heard of Fear and realized that American punk could be hard and dirty and really, really good.
FEAR BAND MEMBERS: Lee Ving (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Philo Cramer (Lead Guitar), Spit Stix (Drums), Geoff Kresge (Bass), Eric Razo (Guitar)
Revisiting the Roots of Punk with Flag at PRB
Black Flag members have returned to the stage as Flag and with them they’ve managed to bring the original sound that others have tried, and sometimes failed, to deliver. Having just seen Black Flag at Sabroso in California in April with Mike Vallely on vocals and the only original member Greg Ginn on guitar (1976-1986, 2003, 2013-present), Flag was my most anticipated show of Punk Rock Bowling this year. Vallely and Ginn pulled off a great show in April and the fans were happy with the outcome. But, with Keith Morris on vocals (1976-1979), Chuck Dukowski on bass (1977-1983), and Bill Stevenson on drums (1982-1985), and Dez Cadena on guitar, Flag has a truly “original” lineup. They were so good; song after song was dead on, fast, hard, unforgiving, and soaked up by the PRB pit. Nostalgia is an understatement every time I see Keith Morris take the stage and Flag’s performance last night stepped up that sense of deep rooted love of punk rock that people come to this event to honor. They played Black Flag favorites including “Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie” and a stellar version of “No Values”… it was transformative. Keith Morris is untouchable at every project he takes on, from Off! to Flag this man is at the top of his game.
FLAG BAND MEMBERS: Keith Morris (Lead Vocals), Chuck Dukowski (Bass), Bill Stevenson (Drums), Dez Cadena (Guitar & Vocals), Stephen Egerton (Guitar)
Casualties Transform the PRB Scene to a Hard Core Mecca
Watching a hard core punk set with a few thousand of your best friends describes the front of the stage at The Casualties show last night at PRB. David Rodriguez killed it on vocals. He brought an energy of unforgiving fun and rowdy misdemeanor to the stage and demanded the same from the pit. When they didn’t meet his expectations, Rodriguez jumped into the pit and showed the enthusiastic crowd how it should be done, staying in the pit for several songs and several trips around the circle both on his feet and passed around overhead. It was extreme yet brotherly and put The Casualties in the running for the funnest set of the festival. Drummer “Meggers” Eggers, Rick Lopez on bass, and Jake Kolatis on guitar played a tight set with energy and enthusiasm and their showmanship propelled the band’s sound to new heights. These guys get better and better every single time I see them play. The audience was having fun with a visible sense of euphoric madness and they drew more and more people in as The Casualties played, growing their audience with every song, the band ate it up going harder as the set progressed.
THE CASUALTIES BAND MEMBERS: David Rodriguez (Vocals), Rick Lopez (Bass), Meggers (Drums), Jake Kolatis (Guitar)
THE DAMNED BAND MEMBERS: David Vanian (Vocals), Captain Sensible (Guitar), Monty Oxy Moron (Keyboard), Pinch (Drums), Paul Gray (Bass)
– Sarah Tonin
13 Stitches Magazine