By Jeff Moses
Judging by the main event Saturday at Pub Rock Live, Phoenix Ska Punk Bowling was a smashing success. It seems as though the entire ska punk community came out to support Andrew Jones and his crazy dream of putting Phoenix on the map as a punk rock town.
"I expected 10 people at every venue," said Jones of his cross-town festival, "but it's actually going really well. Like, it's actually more than I had even hoped for, and that tells me that a lot of people are really interested in this kind of event, and they really want to see it happen."
Local all-female punk outfit The Venomous Pinks opened the night, and it was clear they weren't messing around--everything from their look to their attitude to their fast-paced tunes just screamed punk when they were on stage. The Phoenix-based act was easily the hardest sound of the night, considering their almost metal-like jams were opening for three pop-punk acts.
Perhaps the most appropriate part of their set was their cover of Hall and Oates classic "Maneater." Because if these ladies keep busting out killer sets and opening for their biggest shows they are going to eat away at the fanbases of their male counterparts and put a stranglehold on the Phoenix punk scene.
Following the Pinks came Southern Illinois pop-punk quartet The Copyrights. Pub Rock really started filling in as the Copyrights came on, and after a few songs the mosh pit got going in front of the stage.
It was also during The Copyrights that it became apparent how forreal this show was. Justin "Junior" Waldrop of Skull Drug, Friday's Pub Rock headliner; Brian Paulson of Rotten Youth; Brad Dilznik of Girl Boner; and other local punks trickled in with the crowd to show support for the first Phoenix Ska Punk Bowling's main event. And something about all the local musicians standing around, some of whom did not even play this weekend, just screams out, "Hey, you're doing it right."
Following The Copyrights things started getting interesting when The Queers opted to go on third, allowing Teenage Bottlerocket to close out the event. Joe Queer, Dangerous Dave, and Lurch Nobody gave the crowd exactly what they wanted: High-energy Queers covers and higher-energy Queers originals.
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The Queers' energy definitely descended into the crowd, also; once they got on all bets were off for standing in front of the stage, unless you were willing to brave what was surely the gnarliest mosh happening in Phoenix Saturday night.
One of the best moments of the entire show was when frontman Joe Queer allowed their merch guy, Clint, to get on stage and play lead guitar on their final 4 songs. I'm sure Clint was a serviceable musician, but Joe Queer being free to hop up on the monitors and embrace the raucous packed house of more than 250 for four riotous tracks was glorious. The Queers rocked it out for 45 minutes before closing out with "Ursula Finally Has Tits" off their sophomore and sophomoric album Love Songs For The Retarded.
The final band of Phoenix Ska Punk Bowling's main event was Laramie's Teenage Bottlerocket, whose set began with their Halloween-masked hype man coming on stage and warming up the crowd before everything exploded into complete pop-punk destruction.
Both sides of the 21-and-up barricade went berserk for Bottlerocket; it seemed like every few minutes the barricade was being pushed 5 feet in either direction by a rabid mosher careening into it. Women, men, and everyone in between were getting into the pit, and no one was relenting.
People were stage-diving from the stage as well as the barricade, and for 45 minutes Pub Rock Live was transformed into Downtown Vegas circa 1999, becoming a launching pad for what will hopefully become a premier yearly Valley punk rock event.
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"I think we might have something really cool here, and without belief in it from the supporting community something like this can never happen," Jones says. "This is for us and not for anybody else. Fuck Vegas, fuck LA, fuck all those cities--let's do something here that's for us and by us, and we can all do it together."