Musings and stuff to watch for at Punk Rock Bowling

Two of our Scenesters are going to Punk Rock Bowling this year with big plans to lose some hearing and party till Memorial Day is yesterday. As one would suspect, they are pretty stoked. We had them write out what they were looking forward to this year to share with you the excitement and spectacle of one of punk rock’s biggest fests. If you plan on going yourself, or just want to gaze longingly from afar, here are some thoughts, musings, hopes, and dreams from our two Vegas-bound writers.

So, here it is: Carson Winter and AnarchoPunk weigh in on what to be amped about at this year’s Punk Rock Bowling.

AnarchoPunk Says:

Having been raised (and subsequently getting stuck) in a small town, I didn’t get out to many live shows as a kid or in my early adulthood. Complicating matters even more, those were the pre-internet days so as far as the punk scene was concerned, I was on an island. I got all of my information from ‘zines and other slightly more legitimate music publications. I also worked a few hours at a local music shop to support my punk rock habit. So, I would peruse the punk category in our monthly wholesale ordering catalog to see what the newest releases were and spend whatever I earned there to get tapes (or sometimes shiny discs called CD’s) at cost. But that was it, no other contact outside of the occasional show up in the Tidewater area of Virginia that was worth the hour plus drive. That was part of the reason why I eventually moved to Los Angeles. I wanted to immerse myself into the scene more, make up for lost time so to say. There’s this anomaly because of my life’s timeline and geography though. I have been to a ton of concerts but hardly any of them have been for bands that I grew up loving because I’ve only recently moved to a larger city where I have ample access to them. There’s also the fact that most of those bands that helped to shape me are older and tour far less than in the mid-90s. Add to that, that my primary job function here at the ‘Scene is to find and promote lesser known talent and you have a recipe for hardly ever making it out to shows for bands that provided the soundtrack to my youth. Bands like Strung Out, Face to Face, Youth Brigade, Subhumans, in almost forty years of life, I haven’t seen any of them live despite the importance they played in my musical evolution. Weird, right? Well, time to fix that shit. With PRB Vegas right around the corner, I get to check a lot of boxes off towards completing my “Yet to See Live” list (which is essentially my only real reason for living at this point). Decendents. The Exploited. Dillinger Four. Millencolin. Check! Check! Check! Check!

 As fantastic as it will be to check those beloved acts off of my bucket list though, I think I will mostly enjoy the party surrounding the music, the atmosphere in general. When you don’t have a lot of close family, you end up filling that void with friends. So, being in Vegas for a long weekend to bowl a few frames and drink a few beers with friends will be like a family reunion for me. Not just my bowling team mates or friends I’ve made in bands that will be in town playing one of the many (oh so many) shows surrounding the fest or the fest proper, but also the new friends to be made. Everything, all in one place that, oh yea, also just happens to be Las Vegas. Between all of the club shows, pool parties and Hangover Helper preshows, I will be able to catch up with so many good friends and meet so many new ones, all because damn near the entire punk community descends on the desert for this five day, non-stop party with a city full of friends. I didn’t even mention all of the supremely talented younger acts that are playing like Off With Their Heads, Night Birds, Sic Waiting and Be Like Max and that’s just the fest itself! Jesus Christ..it’s just..I can’t even…Look, I’ll just see you there!

Carson Winter says:

Every year, I watch Punk Rock Bowling come and go the same way, in excited chatter and ethanol fumes. And every year, I’m on the sidelines, wishing time and money were the sorts of things that multiplied themselves. For the first time in a long time though, I heard the announcement and decided: “I can do that.” I looked down at my feet, saw the carpet sprouting up between my toes and I saw that there was nothing really keeping me. Time can be set aside, money can be saved. So, I  made my decisions. This is the year.

And what sold me was the lineup. There’s an absurd amount of great bands playing the festival, and a lot of them I’m stoked to see, but only one of them is Dag Nasty. The underrated progenitors of a genre, the missing link between melodic hardcore and emo have started playing shows again. And if you love Can I Say? as much as I do, that’s a big deal. And if you haven’t? Seriously, check out that record, dude. It’s great.

That’s the kind of magic a big festival brings. It pulls the bands that might not tour to your hometown into a central place, to be enjoyed by devotees from across the world. I’m sure everyone is going to lose themselves over Dillinger Four, Flag, and the Descendents, and I’m not even deep into any of those bands and I’m probably going to freak out. How often do you get to see legends at work? The stage is ripe with possibilities. The desert comes with a promise to be ignited; of all this music I never had the time to listen to before, I’m set to have it played right in front of me, where I can see every chord struck. This is where new favorite bands are made.

But there’s more to it than that. There’s a mystique around the entire event. Success and Pears are playing at bars in the middle of the day. Crazy, right? Those guys could headline by themselves, but there they are: secrets. It makes me wonder what other surprises the days will hold, what impromptu journeys I could be taken on.

That’s the promise of a multi-day festival in a new city. Go for Dag Nasty, go for Dillinger Four, go for Flag, go for weird hidden shows in dive bars, go for sick lineups of punk dinosaurs; but most of all go because you’ve never been and you might as well. See ‘ya there.


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