Punk Rock Bowling: Vintage and New Music in DT Las Vegas

The Drowns Punk RB Sunday 28- Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

Punk Rock Bowling gives fans a chance to see all their favorite bands in one place. It’s not every day festival-starved punk fans can see all the most beloved players on the scene. Especially in such a debaucherous setting as Las Vegas. 

There is no doubt as evidenced by the great new bands coming up, that punk is very much still alive.

Coathangers – Photo by Donna Balancia

The annual 3-day show of the latest and the oldest in punk rock wrapped with a strong performance by The Specials, who are touting their new album. The Specials had to cancel their Anaheim show set for May 30 when Lynval Golding fell ill after the band’s performance Tuesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!  

Read: LA Names May 29 ‘The Specials Day’

There was mention that The Specials could be playing in Anaheim as soon as next weekend, but no guarantees. Hang on to the ticket is the word.

The Stranglers – Always The Sun

The Stranglers who are popular in Europe, as they’re a UK band, got a chance to play PRB, and also on Wednesday night at The Regent, which is under new ownership by Live Nation. The Stranglers still bring it, sounding like a blend between Television and Sad Giants and Lovers. They were highly anticipated as many in the crowds had never seen the band, but had listened to them through the years. 

One thing about Punk Rock Bowling, it brings punks from all over the world and this year was packed with an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 attendees according to police estimates.

Descendents topped Sunday night – Photo by Donna Balancia

Headliners Decendents and Adolescents have attracted an entirely new generation of punks. Others like Saturday night headliner Rancid are very much in the current scene with Tim Armstrong producing some of today’s most significant entries into the pop punk and pure punk world. Read our Interview with The Interrupters here. 

GRADE 2 at Punk Rock Bowling:

Grade 2 is one of the Armstrong produced bands on the way up. These rascals from the UK have a demure but aggressive style. They’ve already got some fans in the U.S.

SHAME – Lampoon at PRB:

Shame is one of the young bands on the way up. The guys have got good chops with stage presence and good music. A couple of Turbojugend club members from California said no band should have attitude and that they better keep humble or risk losing fans. “They’re pretty young and they’ll learn,” the cut-wearing punkers said.

Refused – Deadly Rhythm at Punk Rock Bowling

The Undertones brought back memories and whipped the crowd into a mosh, which wasn’t difficult to do. The fans were moshing and crowd surfing just about every song, just some were more frantic than other dances.

Teenage Bottlerocket had style with aggressive in your face tunes that got the second stage going. The Drowns made their Punk Rock Bowling debut but something indicated that there is a good chance the public will get to enjoy this band again and again. 

The Hives still impress. Sporting the most dapper in tuxedos, the frontman has a lot in common with David Johansen, his voice is similar, check out the video:

The girls represented with The Darts provocative display of organ on organ ridiculousness but great music. Driving the beat is Rikki Stixx. 

Drug Church was the special secret weapon of the festival with biting lyrics that comment on some of the most critical issues in an understated by angry New York manner. Read our Interview with Drug Church here.

Every year even in the face of disappearing money for festivals, somehow Punk Rock Bowling forges on. It’s a remarkable feat and the bands on the bill really capture a full range of punk rock music.

It was appropriate that the show ended on a positive note with The Specials. And maybe it’s no coincidence that they have found a place in music history, representing the best of ska and punk together. 

Check out the photo gallery from Punk Rock Bowling here: