Punk Rock Bowling: Day 1

Some thoughts on the first day of the festival stage at Punk Rock Bowling:

Quote of the day: From Peter and the Test Tube Babies singer Peter Bywater upon seeing bottles of water placed at the foot of the stage for the band: “F!@$in’ Water! The only water I like is mixed with hops.” From there, the band barely paused as they came hard with equally poppy and punchy, tongue-in-cheek rippers about getting banned from pubs in their native England and being possessed by the spirit of Keith Moon.

Best sing-a-long not by Cock Sparrer (more on them later): Angelic Upstarts, “Teenage Warning”: The British Oi! lifers got hearts and fists pounding alike on this classic rebel yell. “Open the cage / Let free the animals / Running wild!” they sang, their voices joined by countless more.

Most obvious song title: Anti-Nowhere League, “This is War.” These hardcore British punk mainstays hardly needed to spell their agenda out for the crowd, firing off one metallic salvo after the next against clean living and humanity in general while dressed like a veteran biker gang (Grandpas of Anarchy, anyone?). And yet, they did so any way on “This Is War,” a song as raw as these dudes’ knuckles.

Best fashion accessory: Saw a guy with a pair of sunglasses shaped like open toilet lids complete with a dookie pile stenciled onto each lens. Needless to say, he was the s!@#.

Set of the day: Cock Sparrer. Rain drops had started to fall intermittently, the show was running a half-an-hour late — not a big deal, but after seven hours of music up to that point, fatigue was starting to set in — and the audience was growing restless when Cock Sparrer literally bounded on to the stage and hit the crowd like the adrenaline shot to Mia Wallace’s heart. All of a sudden, it was like being embraced in one big punk rock bear hug. The British street punk pioneers opened with the bullet-proof 1-2-3 punch of “Riot Squad,” “Watch Your Back” and “Working,” which many of the suddenly animated crowd members sang with arms around one another’s shoulders. It was the energy burst needed to propel the crowd to the clubs shows that followed, as the first day of Punk Rock Bowling roared right into the second.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.

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