Words & Photos by James Alvarez
Gnarlytown 2019 was an all day, family friendly, punk rock/extreme sports extravaganza by the ocean. We’re talking: skateboards. Check. BMX riders. Check. Motocross stunts and pyro galore? Check. Titans of punk, hardcore and even hip hop, all rocking the same stage…checkmate!
See that shirt? What a lineup! All that chaos somehow managed to fit and coexist for one magical day at the LA Waterfront in San Pedro, CA. The hometown heroes in Pennywise headlined this inaugural Gnarlytown shindig, backed up by their Bay Area homies in Rancid, acclaimed rapper and food connoisseur Action Bronson, OFF!, Madball, Rotting Out and more. The logistics of traveling to and parking at the waterfront proved a bit cumbersome on this busy Southern California Saturday afternoon, which meant missing the local hardcore warriors in Rotting Out and arriving as NYC’s Madball finished bulldozing the stage.
We did catch OFF!‘s blistering set, launching riffs and crowd surfers through the air with ease. Despite being the only rapper on the bill, Action Bronson felt right at home onstage at Gnarlytown. Either his mad skills and years in the rap game, the success of his TV shows on Viceland [Fuck That’s Delicious or The Untitled Action Bronson Show] or maybe it’s all of the above, but the crowd definitely loved his late afternoon hip-hop infusion of the day. Rancid‘s energy mirrored the bursts of pyro from the Nitro Circus stunt crew. The band exploded onstage and prompted the crowd, many of of whom had been chilling inside the fest since the early afternoon, to come alive; dancing & singing like they hadn’t been cooking in the sun all day. It helps that their songs are crazy infectious, but when a band is as tight and energetic as Rancid is on stage, it takes crowd participation to a whole new level entirely. Finally, Pennywise took the stage amidst an ocean of Pennywise shirt adorned fans. Living in Southern California, you’ll definitely see your share of Pennywise hoodies and shirts throughout LA and the OC respectively but the end of Gnarlytown felt like a genuine Pennywise convention. We spotted a dude with a PW face tattoo watching the Nitro Circus earlier in the night. That’s the level of support/love Pennywise received as they steamrolled through another high energy, sing along heavy set for the ages.
A day filled with crazy bands, crazy stunts, and crazy fans…Gnarlytown definitely lived up to it’s namesake.