The first full day of Punk Rock Bowling is Saturday. You have your pool party shows, the main stage, and the club shows. You can find yourself going about fifteen hours a day on these days. For me, this was the settling in day. I ended up out there about three, when Plague Vendor started. With the Punk Rock Bowling write ups, I’m going to probably do more blurbs than my usual writing format. There is a lot of stuff to cover, and of course, some great pictures to check out with it. I didn’t have a photo pass for the main show, but was allowed in with my camera so I made the best of it.
Plague Vendor is a perfect example why I love Punk Rock Bowling. I get to discover energized, new performances from bands that don’t always make it to the Phoenix area. These guys know how to perform. At one point, Plague Vendor’s lead singer was wearing the sunglasses of the security guard.
What followed after them was a band that knows well how to perform to an audience, The Interrupters. They are jumping around, running around that Punk Rock Bowling stage. One of the most expressive bands I saw all day. The set was a mix of old and new songs, and the only ska sound to grace the main stage this day.
Near the end, they invited their once tour mates in Bad Cop/Bad Cop to help dance and sing along too.
After that was an older, but entertaining band in the Spits. Their keyboardist came out in a mutant like mask reminiscent of the eighties. This was our first Fat Mike sighting, singing along on the side of the stage.
Speaking of Punk Rock legends, then it was Keith Morris and OFF! Keith gave us his political input between songs and brought that fast paced, old school punk sound in the music. This is what a good portion of that crowd came out to see.
Then there was the other unique styling of punk on that stage, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Unlike their last tour, we had Scott Shifflet on guitar too. The Jerry Cape joke continued on the big stage, though not without a little onstage petition from Joey to be called his real name. You get a more relaxed Jay Bentley in this band, and one of the most entertaining front men in Spike. I must give a huge thank you to my friend Frank, who managed to get me three songs in the photo pit for this set. They played an excellent set of not always punk songs to the punk crowd.
Then came the magical moment, my first time seeing Iggy Pop in the flesh on stage. At his age, he is still moving and jumping around as he sings. He put on an amazing performance up there showing that age is only in the mind. Without the photo pass, I hung as close as I could without having to worry about protecting the camera around my neck. If this was the only time I saw him perform, I can live happy with that.
From here I made the traditional dash to my club show, but found myself a little frustrated. This year it turns out that the club shows started before the headliner of the main stage had finished. In past years, they tended to start about thirty minutes from conclusion of the main stage. I am at fault for not seeing a post to social media, but found myself disappointed I missed Bad Cop/Bad Cop.
The saving grace is that Lawrence Arms was performing when I got there. They were the other reason I bought that ticket. Brendon Kelly is one of my favorite performers, and people to follow on Twitter. Their fantastic music mixed with that charm and humor gave me solace that my ticket purchase wasn’t for naught.
Having seen Menzingers in the last month and a half, and the earlier start, did give me the opportunity to make the dash to catch my friends in PEARS. I was excited to discover that I would be able to see them play. Hogs and Heifers was packed for their set when I got there. The energy that PEARS brought only furthered the crowd feeding off of the stage, and moving to the music. Staff was holding onto monitors and speakers to keep them from moving too far. It pretty much kept me pinned to my spot for the set too.
You could say PEARS turned out the lights, because with the clamor for an encore they couldn’t. The fuse not only tripped where their amps were plugged, but also tripped the circuit with the stage lights on them. I ended up awake until 5AM at the Golden Nugget bar hanging with some of them and other friends. Saturday was a success despite a few minor speed bumps in the way.