Punk Rock Bowling And Music Festival, Monday May 29th 2017
Monday was the last day of the Punk Rock Bowling and Music festival in Las Vegas, and I was a bit sad because I had to leave before the end of the show… I ended up driving back to Los Angeles throughout the middle of the night no matter what, as it seems that the entire population of the US had decided to spend their Memorial Day weekend in Sin City.
But there were still a few interesting bands to check out during the day, like the Quitters who played their raging punk rock at the beginning of another very hot day. The singer was hurling with gnarl and plenty of conviction over a mean and powerful inferno of guitars and bass. They had a devilish energy, some high power riffs and, as a result, were sweating out their entire body water, but these guys are from Las Vegas so it was almost too easy for them to endure the furnace.
Despite their very macho physiques, Roadside Bombs played super catchy melodic rock songs, some foot-taping-head-nodding type of songs, far less violent than what was heard this same afternoon, but still ferocious while letting a large place to the melodies. The singer, with his muscular gym body, could have fronted a hardcore band, and was walking on stage like a lion in a cage while singing with a raucous voice. They got a bit more ruthless toward the end, showing that the rage was really there, only more contained.
Wolfpack were a bunch of Aussies with a big heart, a 100% not-for-profit band donating all their earning to charity. They brought discordance and metal-like riffs while their drummer was spiting his spoken-words à la Black Flag with a monochord voice, and the two others were adding a few beast-like vocals. They sounded like hardcore meets metal meets horror, but they were so nice! At the end of the show, the singer-drummer jumped in the crowd to hug as many people as possible, in a we-are-family heartfelt spirit.
From Australia to France, this is where the festival was going with the next band, Lion’s Law, coming straight from Paris, although these guys have already toured all over the world and were singing in English, which may have demonstrated that English is purely the language of punk… I can’t imagine hearing the equivalent in Voltaire’s language, but it didn’t prevent the singer to speak with that famous French accent between songs. They had a song talking about Lafayette, but the music had nothing to do with whatever you would expect from a French band. It was all about their very manly merciless sing-alongs, and a very strong tempo whipped by an authoritarian force, ‘I don’t give a damn’ he continued in a song and they even received a lot of ‘Merci beaucoup’ coming from the crowd.
Booze and Glory sounded like a complete program in itself, and the band certainly had songs to drink with, boosted by multi-vocal harmonies sang in your face, over pumped-up crunchy guitars… ‘We can’t change the world but we can change yourself’, they chanted and yes, the message was upbeat, positive, the music hooky and empowering, in complete contrast with the band which followed their set.
Discharge installed an icy-cold atmosphere despite the 100ºF heat, they were brutal, super aggressive, nihilistic and quite minimalist in their hardcore approach. A grinding distortion was accompanying the anger of their singer, moving on stage like a mad screaming animal, in front of their crying angel emblem. He looked like he was ready to snap at any moment, repeatedly sitting down during a trash metal solo, then hurling again as if he was hurt by that incredible backfiring speed drumming. It was powerful, extreme and disturbing, and I didn’t even try to approach the middle of the crowd, but the mosh pit may have been quite dangerous. Discharge, which is credited for having paved the way for trash/death metal and grindcore, made darkness fell on us, just like that, with a hellish post-apocalyptic bloodbath of sounds
The Adicts surely turned the mood upside down, with a glam rock grand entrance and a singer wearing a white peacock wing-cape, and a very shiny suit, looking like a cross between the reflector, the joker and of course this bad boy in ‘Clockwork Orange’. I couldn’t stay for their entire set unfortunately (and there was still Cock Sparrer and Pennywise playing after them ) but they had this Damned vibe, acting like the most flamboyant act of the festival (beside the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes) and blasting their arena power pop punk… if I learned anything during this festival, is that punk can be very diverse as the idea engulfs darkness and light with the same openness.