Among Friends

For the six years I’ve been heading to Punk Rock Bowling, there has been the added benefit of bands passing through Phoenix the Tuesday I’m back. This year was different with no punk show to run out to when I got home on Tuesday. However, we did have the benefit of Sniper 66 passing through one day later. On the bill were a few local favorites, Birth of Monsters, most of Ass Wipe Junkies, and TV Tragedy.

The openers would be the high energy, high enthusiasm Birth of Monsters. These guys love to play whenever possible. Even in the high frequency that you can find a Birth of Monsters set, you will not find a damper on the energy they put into each performance.

Drew hammers on those drums, singing vocals into the microphone. Vic is the one with the most flair bouncing around, playing from the ground, and from in the crowd. Miguel the calmest makes up for it in his bass talents while looking cool doing it. A touching moment came when they had Amelia up there to sing one of the last songs of the set. If ever a good opener, it is the high speed punks of Birth of Monsters.

Then it was an unorthodox type of Ass Wipe Junkies set. Julian was not able to make it to sing, so another idea was thrown out there. They dubbed it, Ass Wipe Karaoke. They printed lyrics sheets for those unfamiliar with the lyrics.

Then it was song after another, people jumping up for the opportunity to take on lead vocals. There were only a few reluctant, but otherwise a lot of friends and fans partaking of the opportunity. Occasionally there were multiple people around the microphones to sing. It made for quite the entertaining set that I can only hope the Ass Wipe Junkies try to duplicate again.

TV Tragedy had all members present and next on this excellent bill. First thing of note was seeing Joey, of Def Yeti, up there on bass. Not only did this double the people named Joe quotient for the band, but a pleasant surprise to see him on a stage playing again. TV Tragedy represents one of the more stand out punk bands in Phoenix.

Part of that being Maus on vocals, full of expression as he belts lines of the lyrics. However, it isn’t just him, as the entire band is just as animated. They are full of humor and witty banter through it. TV Tragedy was the perfect lead in to our headliners.

Back in town were a favorite out of Texas, Sniper 66. This show marks the band’s first visit to Phoenix since releasing their latest album, “Annihilator.” It marks another fantastic bunch of music from them. You would know this if I ever get around to publishing my favorite national albums of 2018, currently sitting in a rough draft. Watching them perform, it felt like they were among friends. The amount of times people either sharing the microphone or Dylan extending it out to them to sing the lyrics took more than two hands to count.

The only thing difference on this night’s stop would be we had the awesome talents of Rory Cain, filling in for Jeremy, on guitar and James, for Jeff, on Bass. It all made for excellent set put on by Sniper 66 in a setting that felt like we were among friends.

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