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Different City, Same Skatercon

They say a change of scenery can do you well. For Skatercon 6, that meant heading to an entirely different city for the first time in Tucson. The five past prior ones have all been held in Phoenix. This time, we were about an hour and a half south with Mt. Lemmon in our backdrop at Santa Rita Skatepark. Skatercon in a different city did what it does best loaded with bands and skaters, local and touring.

A little bit of technical issues playing into it made our Phoenix local Corky’s Leather Jacket the openers on the bigger stage. It was so good catching these guys for the first time a little bit. It seemed business as usual for these hardcore punk rockers with Juan screaming out their politically charged lyrics over the festival.

One big difference that was first done at the annual Yucca Halloween show was they are now a five piece band. The expansion of the band only has further given a depth to their punk rock melodies. Corky’s Leather Jacket made for the perfect start to the day.

With the smaller stage working on getting power, we had favorites from Los Angeles, Go Betty Go, next. Nicolette, lead vocals, said this was their very first show since Covid too. If you’re wondering, where does the Betty in the name come from if Nicolette is their singer?

That’s their guitarist, Betty. With all the down time they have new songs, and they performed a couple of them out at Skatercon. For longtime fans in mix were “Drown” from their latest release to “Son Mis Lacuras” of their first release. Go Betty Go closed on a favorite “C’mon” to the fanfare of the growing crowd at Skatercon.

From there the small stage was in action and we caught Pycloptopus. It could be it was a long two years, but I believe this is my first time catching these guys. It is a little bit punk rock and little bit grunge. It was a great energy and movement to the performance as skaters went by in the bowl in front of the stage. Psycloptopus were a solid start for the smaller stage finally in action.

Back to the bigger stage we found DFL. Tom was everywhere, including on the subwoofers in front of the stage. He got everyone involved as he jumped around singing from the large subwoofers in front to the stage. If you knew lyrics, chances are that microphone was going into your face to help lend a hand on the vocals.

They had our first mosh pit kicking up the park dirt and remainder of grass into the air. DFL was fantastic and one of the standout performances of the day at Skatercon.

Alternating back over to the stage by the skate competitions we found one of my favorites, The Earlygrabs. Adding to how special they are, these guys are a band that don’t play often so you got to catch them when you can. They put on a fast, high energy skate punk that the name should have already hinted at. Plus, they bring that awesome microphone stand made from skateboard trucks and wheels everywhere they play. The Earlygrabs did not leave me disappointed.  

Next Joe Wood and his band Change Today took the main stage. If unfamiliar with Joe Wood, he was a longtime guitar and vocalist in the punk band TSOL before leaving in 1999. His current band touring around these days is that of a nice rock ‘n roll and blues sound. It was a change of pace for the day where I hung in there enjoying the bass lines and percussions of it with Joe. Change Today was a great time hanging over on the bigger Skatercon stage.

After that it was power troubles again to the small stage, so I would end walking back to the big stage with the excellence that is Urethane. First time I watched these guys was at Punk Rock Bowling last year and was blown away. They continued that feeling to be one my highlights of Skatercon too. Bringing the energy on lead vocals is Tim Fennelly, who I know from his other hardcore band War Fever. Not to overlook all the talent in the band, however, as we have skater and punk rocker, Steve Caballero, Chad on that cool looking bass from Skipjack and Dylan Wade, of Surface Report, behind them on drums.

For a song written by another skate legend and musician, Chuck Treece, they gave him a mic and let him work his magic. The new band Urethane continues to just impress.

Power restored to the skatepark stage left us with one of the highest energy skate punkers I know, Since We Were Kids. This was the set that the distance between band and the lip of the bowl became full on mosh pit. Yes, before you ask, even a couple missteps into the skate bowl did occur for a few of our “dancers” with no injury.

These guys are a Skatercon staple so it would have felt weird not to watch them play this year due to stage power issues. They delivered one of the best sets of the day. If you haven’t somehow checked out Since We Were Kids yet, go do it once you finish reading this.

Finally, the day had come to bring the guys who sing “Skate or Die” to Skatercon, Teenage Bottlerocket. They did play the proverbial song as I ran over from the overlapping tail end of the prior set. One difference was Darren was unable to make this show, so we had Ruben Patino filling in for this one. He did well and was up to his TBR snuff. The set had awesome times as Ray talked about how amazing it was to have Steve Caballero watching him perform finally.

There was a joke about how they can’t have alcohol on the stage at the event so during “Why the Big Pause” they took a drink of water. It was excellent times with Teenage Bottlerocket to close out the main Skatercon. All of this adds up to reasons why Skatercon remains one of my favorite events to attend in Arizona.

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