Punk Rock Bowling - Las Vegas: Day Two (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Punk Rock Bowling

Las Vegas: Day Two (2016)

live show

Read Day 1 here! 

Day one of Punk Rock Bowling technically ended for the group I was with after FLAG’s absolutely stellar performance ended. For me, day two started around 1AM because I had a ticket for Leftover Crack’s club show at The Fremont Country Club. Because I stayed at the festival until FLAG finished (I mean come on, how could I not?) I unfortunately missed the opening band Starving Wolves, but I did manage to see the other two opening bands. After Starving Wolves was what I would classify as a mariachi-ska band called Los Skarnales. According to fellow editor Armando Olivas, who I ran into in the pit at this show, this band has been around for quiet a while and they do not tour that often. As they were setting though, I was skeptical. I had never heard of them before, but I kept an opened mind. In all honesty they were incredible. The band had so much energy and great stage presence. And they got the whole room skanking. I was thoroughly blown away. Los Skarnales were definitely the surprise of Punk Rock Bowling.

After Los Skarnales was done the veteran punk band D.I. took the stage. This was also another band I had never had the pleasure of seeing live. And they too, rocked. They played “No Moms,” “Hypochristian,” "Guns," “Richard Hung Himself” and they even covered “Amoeba” by The Adolescents. And right after that they brought up Mikey DRT Nevaras to take over vocals for the song “Another Life.”

By now it had to have been pushing 2:45AM, which is about when Leftover Crack started their set. I’ve seen Leftover Crack a solid number of times especially in the last two years, but I was really excited to see them at Punk Rock Bowling because Kate Coysh, the other lead vocalist on Constructs of the State would be performing with them – something I hadn’t see yet. And when she performed her parts in the handful of newer songs such as “Corrupt Vision, ”Archaic Subjugation,” and “Bedbugs & Beyond” she really made those songs come to life. Interestingly she also took over lead vocals when the band played “Operation M.O.V.E.,” while Sturgeon sang (screamed) back up. When it came to the rest of the set list where Kate Coysh was not performing, Leftover Crack put on a one of the best shows I have seen the play in a while. When Sturgeon wasn’t playing the keyboard he was jumping and flailing all over the stage. The set list was top notch, too. It had a great range of songs from their discography. They played “Life Is Pain,” “Nazi White Trash,” “Don’t Shoot,” “One Dead Cop,” “Gang Control,” “500 Channels,” “Money Changes Everything,” “The Lie of Luck,” “Burn Them Prisons,” “Crack City Rockers,” Born To Die” – you get the point. A big highlight for me was when Sturgeon aimed the mic at me to scream the chorus of “Infested.”

By 3AM or so Leftover Crack finished and once outside the venue and I didn’t even get back to the hotel until 4AM. I woke up to see the clock say 1:30PM and kicked myself for missing Blag Dahlia’s acoustic set at one of the other hotels. Anyway, day two was going to be the longest for the four of us. If you thought that the line up for day one was stacked, then you’ll think that the list of bands playing day two was insane. To add a little context, day two was important because we were seeing bands that almost never come to west coast. We had missed that awesome tour where Night Birds and Off With Their Heads (and others) opened for Dillinger Four in California because those dates conflicted with Punk Rock Bowling. However since day two had finally arrived, we were able to see two of the three (we did catch Off With Their Heads on day three) of those bands plus so many more.

The four of us made it to the festival grounds right in time to see a local ska band called Be Like Max. Up next were Night Birds – another band I had never seen before and a band that I refused to miss. There was no negotiating that at all. And they were everything I was expecting and more. They too, had a wide-ranging set list that had songs like, “I’m Wired,” “Born To Die In Suburbia,” “Miskatonic Stomp,” “In The Red/In The Black,” “The Other Side of Darkness,” and they finished off with “Left In The Middle.” But I was most pleased to hear “Maimed For The Masses,” a song that I think could very possibly be considered a punk classic in due time.

I never really followed The Sainte Catherines. I am familiar with their album Dancing or Decadence, which they were playing all of to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary for this show. They put on a solid performance, but what confused me was why they thought it was necessary for them to have three guitarists. That part of their set didn’t work that well. It was overkill if anything.

The Dwarves are always a fun band to see live, but this performance was very special compared to the other times I have seen them. Not only was HeWhoCannotBeNamed on stage with them, but they also played all of Blood, Guts, & Pussy. Maybe 10 minutes into their set Blag Dahlia said something like (I’m paraphrasing), “Alright! Side one of Blood, Guts, & Pussy is done!” But seeing how that album is on the shorter side, they also played a bunch of fantastic songs from their later albums like “The Dwarves Are Still The Best Band Ever,” “We Must Have Blood,” “Fuck You Up And Get High,” “Everybodies Girl,” and “We Only Came To Get High.” What also made this particular performance of their extra unique was that they brought Stacey Dee of Bad Cop/Bad Cop to sing “Sluts of the USA” and they also brought Eddie Spaghetti of The Supersuckers to sing a song as well. What was absolutely incredible was when they brought Strugeon of Leftover Crack to help sing “I Will Deny.” That was completely unexpected. You can see a video clip of it here.

Up next was yet another band that rarely makes it out to the west coast. Of course how often do they really tour at all these days? It was essential that I see them. And that band was Dillinger Four. It was literally everything I had hoped for. They played an extremely lively show with a great set list that consisted of “Let Them Eat Thomas Paine,” “Gainesville,” “A Jingle For The Product,” but I completely lost my shit during “Doublewhiskeycokenoice” and “MINIMUM WAGE IS A GATEWAY DRUG.” The band also cracked a few jokes at the Stern brothers, which were about how they called Dillinger Four up to ask if they wanted to play a big parking lot in Reno. Their set ended with Ryan Young of Off With Their Heads tackling/bear hugging Patty to the ground during their last song and one of them said, “Thank you! We're the Descendents!” as they walked off.

Millencolin has never really been a band I have followed that much. I’m not a hater, but their material never did much for me. Regardless I did want to see what their live performance was like. Overall it was pretty fun. I did recognize a few of the songs they played like, “Egocentric Man,” “True Brew,” and “Penguins & Polar Bears.”

Here is yet another band I never thought I would get a chance to see – pop punk pioneers the Buzzcocks. Other than the stellar performance they put on, what really surprised me was the range of fans that were so stoked about seeing them – old, young, gutter punk, street punk, etc. They really got the whole audience going. Sure they were not as active on stage as the other bands, but they commanded so much respect from the crowd just from their songs that they didn’t need to. A few songs they played were “Boredom,” “I Don’t Mind,” “Sick City Sometimes” and of course “Ever Fallen In Love With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve.

It is always a near-religious experience when you see the Descendents live. They are one of the few bands that the whole punk rock scene can agree are amazing in the studio and live. The fact that they were headlining day two and FLAG had headlined day one was something I’m sure people could only dream about. I mean seeing Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton perform in two different bands in one weekend?! INSANE! I had seen the Descendents only once before last October at It’s Not Dead Fest, but this performance I knew would be one for the books because after hearing about (and missing) that secret LA show of theirs a few weeks back where they played new songs, I figured we’d get to hear some of the new material at this show. I was right. Not only were they as fierce and awesome as ever, but they played at least three to four new songs, specifically the recently released “Victim of Me” and they played a bunch of classics like, “Everything Sux,” “Coolidge”… actually, screw it. Want to see their full set list? Take a look here. When it came to the other new songs that they played though, they sounded like the more aggressive Decendents songs in their discography. In other words – I think that we will be nowhere near disappointed with their new album. 

So day two had some amazing performances from some legendary bands. And what a way to end it – with Decendents playing some new tunes! Day three started the same way that day two did, which was at another club show that also started and ended at an ungodly hour, but when you read about what band it was you will absolutely agree it was worth staying up. You’ll have to wait until it is written and posted to find out!

You can see some pictures of the festival on the Punknews Instagram.