Festival Review: Day 2 of Punk Rock Bowling 2024 in Las Vegas, NV

After enjoying fantastic after-show sets from the Dwarves and The Queers, my millennial body was finally recovered enough to catch the third set of the day: Catbite, a ska band from Philadelphia. This was my first time hearing about them despite their formation in 2018. They delivered concise, ear-catching tracks that made their performance enjoyable for me and the rest of the audience experiencing the band for the first time.

Another band I wasn’t familiar with was Niis from LA. I give them props for braving the afternoon heat and playing a full set, even though the singer kept saying, “You’re not punk if you’re in the shade.” Many of us were perfectly fine with losing punk points, choosing to stay under the tent with misters and an ice cream cart during their set.

Cosmic Psychos followed on the Street Party Stage, another band unfamiliar to me, hailing from Australia. They started their set with “Pub” and ended with “David Lee Roth,” even mooning the audience with their flat asses—a sight I happily missed in person but unfortunately witnessed on the main stage while waiting for the (ironically named) Destroy Boys to begin their set. Destroy Boys kicked off with “Shadow (I’m Breaking Down)” and even did a cover of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Before performing “Muzzle,” Violet Mayugba invited all girls and nonbinary people into the pit.

Next up was Snõõper from Nashville, a band reminding punks to just have fun. They brought a unique flair with their Adidas tracksuits, although one member humorously stood out in Reebok. Their seamless integration of sound clips between songs added to their well-rehearsed performance, along with the stage props. With the right support, they could evolve their act into a full-fledged show, complete with spectacle.

Switching to less fun and more serious punk, Subhumans took the main stage and opened with “Apathy.” They talked about how the richest 1% control most of the money, but the rest of us, the 99%, still have a voice. “But this is a festival; let’s get to the music,” they reminded us, and proceeded to play “99%.” They also stressed the importance of avoiding animal products and items tested on animals in 2024.

A walk and a skip over to the Street Party Stage brought us to a vibrant pink setup, from the microphones to the amplifiers, as we eagerly awaited Starcrawler. They launched into their set with “Roadkill” and maintained an electrifying energy throughout. Their cover of The Ramones’ “Pet Sematary” and their fusion of intense rock ‘n’ roll with catchy glam pop injected something fresh and new into Punk Rock Bowling.

Only three bands remained for this Sunday Funday in Vegas, including San Diego’s Rocket from the Crypt on the main stage. They played a fun set featuring “On a Rope” and “Middle,” while the crowd pushed around giant inflated dice. They donned wool uniforms and mentioned how punk it was to wear them despite expressing disdain for Florida. Nonetheless, they delivered an impressive performance.The main stage conveniently featured Jumbotrons, which allowed me to watch The Chats’ chaotic and fun performance while we all patiently waited for Devo to finish setting up. My only regret of the day was missing this energetic Australian trio that I hadn’t known about before. They are a band I will definitely not miss the next time they come to town.

Devo took the main stage to finalize Sunday’s Punk Rock Bowling festivities. The iconic pioneers of new-wave and electro-punk started with “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man).” Watching Devo for the first time, I was impressed by their synchronized moves, multimedia backdrops, and playful interactions that kept the audience and myself engaged from start to finish. The band’s classic red hats appeared as the opening chords of “Whip It” rang out, and the crowd erupted, singing along with unabashed glee and complete nostalgia. After a wardrobe change into yellow jumpsuits, Devo concluded their set with “Gates of Steel” and an encore of “Freedom of Choice.” In the grand carnival of punk rock, Devo proved once again that they are the ultimate ringmasters, orchestrating a delightful chaos that few can match.

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