Show Review & Photo Gallery: Punk Rock Bowling Club Show – Cock Sparrer / Giuda / Drakulas / True Rivals (Backstage Bar and Billiards 5/28/2017

Billed as a Mystery Show the headliner for this Day Two Club Show was listed only as “Special Guests” along with the named opening acts Giuda, True Rivals and Drakulas. Despite knowing some of the people playing the show, I was never able to get anyone to spill the beans, so I was still in the lurch even after getting inside the poorly lit venue. Shortly after taking my seat in the corner, all was revealed by a slightly inebriated oracle who was sitting next to me as I got my camera ready for the shoot. “Did you hear who the special guest was yet? ” I asked doing my best to awkwardly make small talk. “Hell yea!” he retorted ecstatically. “Fucking Cock Sparrer!!! Woooo-hoooo!!! Want a beer?!?” Gotta love Punk Rock Bowling! Check out the show review along with an awesome photo gallery of all of the incredible acts below!

Prior to heading into the Bar, I found my fellow Angelinos, True Rivals to thank them for getting me on the list for the sold out show and have a beer. They had just gotten to town a few days earlier, right on the heels of a short tour and said they were pretty beat and would be playing a short set. Although it was shorter than a typical TR set, they still brought their signature energetic performance and playfulness. Guitarist, Trevor bounced all over the stage, taking some time to introduce the bar to the soles of his shoes while shredding through “White Collar Crime”. The boys also made sure to pack the “TR Charm”, engaging with the crowd and telling funny stories between the seven or eight songs. Even if it is an atypically brief set, you never want to miss a True Rivals show. Thanks guys!

I had never heard of Austin, Texas’ Drakulas and I still struggle to define what I saw. Normally, I’ll research bands that I’m not familiar with before checking them out at a live show. In rare instances, I’ll go in blind for a thrill. This was one of those cases. This four piece is odd and quirky, but they are fun as hell. Dressed uniformly as mod vampires (I guess?) they took the dimly lit stage wearing sunglasses and turtles necks (in the desert? Yikes!). The thirty minute set featured gravity defying cossack kicks, haunting organs and furious tambourine playing. My favorite part was in between songs, when the frenetic front man would repeatedly bellow the band name “DRAK-ULAS!” in a spastic cadence almost as a point of emphasis. Well, it worked!! Definitely a memorable performance!

Although I had see them perform last year at PRB Fest, I’m was still not uber familiar with Giuda. They had played early on the Mainstage back in 2016 to small crowd in the oppressive desert heat, so it was awesome to see them in this more private, (air conditioned) setting. I remembered this Italian five piece playing a unique punk-funk fusion but halfway through their set I realized that I must’ve mistaken them for someone else as their sound was assuredly not funk inspired. Regardless of my ignorance and more importantly, the crowd went absolutely ape shit for these guys, singing along with every song while they periscoped their cell phones above the densely packed floor to get video of the performance. It made me feel like I’ve been the only one on the planet that’s been sleeping on these raucous Romans. 2017 marks the last time I underrate Giuda.

The moment we had all been waiting for, at least since we found out who the “Special Guest” would be about 3 hours earlier, Cock Sparrer took the stage albeit slightly later than expected. Most of the UK acts had a hard time getting out of London due to the recent terrorist attacks and the forefathers of Oi weren’t immune. The Working Class band landed at McCarran International with just enough time to get to the venue and play their set, then there was the always troublesome issue of finding electric converters for the equipment (guess that’s the benefit of having time for sound check). Despite the minor delays, it was well worth the wait. I had never had a chance to see the street punk legends before, much less in such an intimate setting. The stage was about three feet high, meaning that when in the photo pit, I was almost face to face with the mythical musicians as they played through genre defining songs. Life Goal achieved!


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