Altercation Punk Rock BBQ 2013…I Was There!
In 1978 Generation X wrote One Hundred Punks Rule, and in 2013 just over 500 Punks ruled the Vortex Theater in Austin Texas for the Third Annual Altercation Punk Rock BBQ on Saturday March 16th. This years bash which came on the last day of the South By Southwest Music Conference, featured performances by the legendary Lower Class Brats, Say Hello To The Angels, Off With Their Heads, Teenage Bottlerocket, Lost In Society, New Red Scare, The Scandals, and Sniper 66.
As with every year the Altercation Punk Rock BBQ in true punk fashion was free admission to all ages, and those fancy expensive all access passes couldn’t even get you to the front of the line. Nope, it was all first come first serve, as was the food which lasted all of about 20 minutes, as well as the Lone Star Beer which flowed freely for about an hour and a half before it was all gone and they went to a cash bar.
For the last two years this has been my favorite show at South By Southwest. The people at Altercation really know how to throw a party, its an unpretentious and totally free all out good time, from the moment I reached the door and was greeted by two large, and extremely friendly gate keepers who looked more like they should have been lurking in an alleyway on some Boston waterfront looking for a leg to break rather than checking our I.D.’s and welcoming us in with hearty smiles and quick comedic retorts, I felt completely at ease and at home. While on line waiting for my free Lone Star we made friends with seemingly everyone around us who were also all their to kick back and enjoy a sunny afternoon of great Punk Rock.
The days lineup up was also probably the best that South By Southwest had to offer the entire week, while not an official SXSW showcase these bands and this lineup was second to none. First up was Sniper 66 who unfortunately due to my tardiness I missed most of, but who’s last two songs shook the place with urgency and whipped the crowd into a cohesive mass around the stage setting the bar high and ensuring that the rest of the bands would give their all…Sniper 66 was followed by New Jersey’s favorite street punks The Scandals who’s anthemic fist pumping style which is impossible to resist got the entire place to sing along to half their set. So now I’m feeling pretty great about this day & know I have Lower Class Brats and Off With Their Heads coming up, and was able to get two free beers before they went to cash bar when we were hit by the frantic tones of New Yorks New Red Scare who’s front man Billy Gwynn was a man possessed by the demons of rock, I would have paid $20 for his performance alone and having this be a free show made this performance priceless. Following New Red Scare was another New Jersey band who I saw at last years BBQ called Lost In Society, and they are one of the tightest bands around, they have a bit of a Pixies approach to their punk which complemented the mayhem that had just ensued very nicely. Next up was Austin’s own Say Hello To The Angels who as always delivered a stellar performance, Say hello To The Angels are one of Austin’s premiere post punk bands who regularly grace the stages of this fine city and who have literally shared the stage with everyone who is anyone passing through Austin. They were followed by Lower Class Brats who’s front man Bones worked the crowd like a master hitting us with classic favorites as well as some great new songs. After the Brats was Off With Their Heads who also totally rocked the place with an energy which at this point of the show can only be described as viral. Finally it was Teenage Bottlerocket who had a hell of act to follow after the first seven bands all of whom had the chops to headline this show, and I am happy to report they rose to the occasion topping off this fine BBQ of Punk with a sweet desert of fun pop punk that polished this show to perfection.
If I seem a little over excited about this show it’s because I am, this show is exactly what I love about punk rock, and what attracted me to it to begin with, it seemed to me that it was all about having a great time and listening to some great bands unlike most shows where its about how much money can we make at the door, and how many $5 beers can we sell to maximize our profits. Everything about it was honest and unpretentious. My hat goes off to the Altercation crew who pulled off another great show, and I can’t wait for next years event.