Beer/Music Fests are all the rage these days, but we’ve had a gaping hole in that department over the last year or so here in the US ever since punk legend Fat Mike and his trailblazing Punk in Drublic Fest was banished after making insensitive comments following the Las Vegas mass shooting. But things have blown over as they seem to do over time and the Festival has made it’s triumphant return to the States. We sent Anarchopunk down to snap some shots when the tour rolled through Red Rocks Amphitheater just outside of Denver and he didn’t disappoint (anyone other than his wife). Check out his write up and a full gallery below!
Despite seeing pop punk darlings Bad Cop / Bad Cop just a few weeks earlier, they still managed to astounded me, just as they always do. Their energetic performance is contagious but I think it’s the gals’ upbeat attitude that really draws the crowds and keeps them engaged throughout every set. They played though pretty much, if not all of their newest album Warriors and the crowd was singing right along with them from Jump Street.
After Ray Carlisle’s son, Milo warmed up the drum kit, Laramie, Wyoming’s Teenage Bottle Rocket took the stage. As expected, they played through their set (which included mostly songs from the newest LP Stay Rad) at a furious pace, all the while bouncing around like one of the 25¢ jumbo Super Balls. By this time, the sun had reached it’s apex and you could feel the heat radiating off of the rocks, but even it’s mightiest attempts to slow down the pop punk stalwarts went unnoticed as the band’s energy never dipped (although Ray did look a bit more moist than usual).
Next up, Chicago’s finest, The Lawrence Arms! Having only seen the punk trio a few times before (and always in poor lighting), I was extremely excited to see them (and in daylight)! The lads spent about forty minutes on stage and by this time, the clouds had rolled in, dropping the temps to almost match the coolness level of the band themselves. They played through all of the hits including my personal favorite, “The YMCA Down The Street From The Clinic”.
New Jersey punk legends Bouncing Souls took the stage next and probably received the loudest crowd response of the day. Another set without many deep cuts, the band blazed through all of he highlights from their incredible 25 year career including the always crowd pleasing “Sheena”. VIPs were treated to a special treat with lead man Greg Attonito spending a ton of time down in the ‘low rows’ pacing back and forth in the walkway between the stage and the front row interacting with as many fax as possible along the way.
Me First and The Gimmie Gimmies sauntered onto the stage with the swagger you would expect from such a cut rate wedding band. On this night, we were graced with the most common lineup of Dave Raun, the illustrious Jay Bentley, Caper, and S Shiflett (Stacey Dee also filled in for a few songs). Maybe it was the crisp evening mountain air but Spike seemed to have a little pep in his step than usual as he bellowed out a cornucopia of cover tunes. The best of the night (in my opinion) being his solo of Mr. William Joel’s “Movin’ Out” which he also played ukulele along to. And of course, no set at Red Rocks would be complete without them playing through “Country Roads” by Colorado’s adopted son, John Denver.
NOFX was last up and walked on stage to chants of “Fuck Fat Mike” while “The Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show blasted through the house speakers. Before the set began, Fatty chirped back at the crowd, giving as good as he got. He showed that he may not have learned too much from his past mistakes, teetering on the edge of offensiveness again by poking fun at handicapped kids who were in the reserved front row. But really, if you’re coming to a punk show and getting offended by things that Fat Mike says, you probably would’ve fit in better at the Peter Frampton show at this very venue a few weeks earlier. The set included songs from just about every album. From Liberal Animation to Last Ditch Effort, the boys played through the highlights as kids were literally trying to mosh in the bleacher seats with little success most of them getting carried out, bloodied and battered.
At the end of NOFX’s set, Melvin advised the crowd that they would be taking a quick break to allow the orchestra to set up for the The Decline. My legs were shot after running up and down the rocks for eight hours, so I took this opportunity to beat the crowds and enjoyed the performance of the eighteen minute epic on the hike back down to the car as it echoed off of the rocks.
*Check out more shots from this awesome fest below (in random order….fuck you WordPress)