Punk Rock Bowling Festival Vegas: Day One – FLAG, The Exploited, Subhumans, The Bronx, Youth Brigade, NO!SE, JFA

Saturday, or Day One as its known, began with a phone call from DyingScene head honcho Mr. Buck reminding me of my bowling requirement, and my near miss of the shuttle to the alleys. Punk Rock Bowling was officially underway, and I was already tired – how does that happen. Bowling every year is a moment of pure embarrassment for the Dying Scenesters, who historically never make it past the first round. This year, with the addition of a new bowler, the team did relatively well, and even moved on to the second round – something we didn’t figure out until Monday night. The shuttle ride back to the Golden Nugget is always the highlight of the bowling adventures, as the tiredness has dissipated making way for drunken (and sometimes drug fueled) debauchery. The shuttle driver had the radio on and Styx’s classic “Come Sail Away” started playing and, for a bunch of punks, we all started singing like a scene out of Wayne’s World – it was quite the moment and the mood was set for a day in the sun, with the main stage festival commencing momentarily.

The main stage began not only on time, but a few minutes early and I had missed the first three songs of JFA. Bowling and other preparatory duties prevented the DyingScene crew from getting to the festival earlier, but once arrived it was game time. I’m shite at these show reviews, especially when there’s seven bands to go through. Let the photos do the talking. Despite approaching AARP eligibility, JFA still rocks with tireless energy, and frontman Brian Brannon bounces around stage, often involving fans in the vocal duties. I feel like the band should have played a little later in the day, or weekend, but the band killed their set despite the thin, still growing crowd.

After a little liquid refreshment I was back in the photo pit for NO!SE. The Seattle street punk band has gained quite the following over the years and it’s no doubt why – the guys rock. Great stage presence, ripping guitar and classic vocals are the recipe for success and these guys nailed it.

The beloved Stern brothers with the help of John Carey and Joey Garibaldi (aka Joey Balls) took to the stage next for Youth Brigade. Despite what has been said about the brothers, the guys still rock and their music transcends any politics. I just wish bands would wait to play my favorite songs until later in the set, as it is very difficult to jam out to “Modest Proposal” and photograph at the same time. Watching Joey Balls perform though is a beautiful sight to see – not only is the guy super nice and friendly, but he plays one of the most wickedest bass I’ve seen lately.

The Bronx is one of those bands that has kind of slipped through the cracks for me, although I have been a big fan of their alter-ego Mariachi el Bronx. The guys played a great set although I couldn’t recall any highlights from the performance.

Out of all the bands on the main stage bill, Subhumans was the one I was most excited to see – and also the band I’ve seen the most times. They never get old – literally – I don’t know how Dick Lucas is still alive, and as spry as he is. Another band that performed one of my favorites too early. As “No” came on for their second song, I put the camera down and began to sing along – that song is just soo good. Other standouts were of course “Work-Rest-Play-Die” and the obligatory finale “Religious Wars”. I am very thankful for the handful of very talented and honest photographers I have been able to work alongside, as they allow me to drop my gear for a bit and dance around like times past. Big thanks to Anthony Constantine of PunksInVegas for that one.

I remember seeing The Exploited for the first time years ago at Rebellion in England and thinking, wow – I just saw the fucking Exploited. Crazy. I was equally excited this time around, and although details of their set are a bit hazy, the cuts and bruises were testament to my enjoyment.

FLAG┬áis a band that is a must see, if only for the show that you’ll be treated to. With the legendary Keith Morris manning vocals and Chuck Dukowski’s relentless energy, the band still knows how to rock it after all these years.

Have a look at all the photos from day one below, and stay tuned for more photos in the following days.

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