Words & Photos by James Alvarez
Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco & Music Festival, is a traveling oasis. Five years in and the festival has become a one stop shop for fun and grub in the sun. Offering audiences in the Western United States a ‘taste of Southern California’ this punk rock, food and music circus is jam packed with SoCal staples: tacos, brews, Mexican wrestling and skate punk heroes like The Offspring and Pennywise. The first date of the fest’s itinerary was this past Saturday at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA. It was basically the raddest beach picnic imaginable. Unwritten Law were rocking the stage as we arrived on site. Fans drank and sang along as the ocean breeze carried the scent of hot sauce throughout the grounds. This is how you music festival.Me First And The Gimmie Gimmies were up next. The always entertaining quintet seemed tailor made for this event. Ripping through high energy, punkified renditions of pop songs, while fans chomp tacos by the beach; if that isn’t a match made in heaven, then what is?
The Vandals were fun because…they’re The Vandals. Guitarist Warren Fitzgerald made it a point to engage the audience, tossing inflatable beach balls back into the crowd and ripping up some over the top guitar pyrotechnics, and poses, on the loud speaker right against a mob of fans rocking Vandals shirts. Pennywise stormed the stage and whipped everyone into a frenzy. From the opening notes of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” from their self titled album, the crowd was entirely in Pennywise’s hands. Frontman Jim Lindberg hammed it up for the cameras, even snatching a photographer’s gear and getting some shots of the crowd himself. Guitarist Fletcher Dragge riffed it up on stage left, while the band’s rhythm section galloped the crowd into submission. If you want to watch people lose their minds, just load them up with beer and tacos all day and hire Pennywise to play songs like “Fight Til You Die” and “Fuck Authority.” The band wrapped things up with “Bro Hymn” and all was right with the world. The Offspring headlined the evening and opened with a trifecta of holy shit songs. “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” “All I Want” and “Come Out And Play” back to back to back. The sold out festival grounds constricted around the stage like a snake when The Offspring statrted up; everyone at Sabroso wanted a piece of the action. The band blasted through hits and treats for old school fans alike [so stoked to hear “Genocide”]. Offspring ringleader Dexter Holland began a stripped down, piano heavy rendition of “Gone Away” halfway through the set, prompting a sea of cell phones and lighters into the air. When you’ve got so many iconic songs, one might assume arranging a setlist would be torture for the band, but by now The Offspring fellas got this down to a science. They ended the night with “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and “Self Esteem” allowing for one last singalong before everyone’s beach side taco romp came to a close.
Aside from rad tunes, Sabroso 2018 also featured high flying, ring shaking, Lucha Libre wrestling matches inbetween bands. Fans could wonder over to beach side ring after their favorite act had finished playing and catch some wild ass Mexican wrestling down by the sand.
Nestled between Pennywise and The Offspring’s blistering sets, was the Gringo Bandito/Chronic Tacos challenge, a legit world class taco eating contest featuring professional eaters from around the world. Reigning champion Takeru Kobayashi once again won this year’s event and cemented his legacy as bottomless pit/world class eater.
Lastly, what’s a cool festival without the super fans who make it all possible? When punk and food fans unite, you know you’re in for something special. Make sure to catch a Sabroso Fest near you, because like Dexter Holland’s own Gringo Bandito hot sauce; this lineup is just too caliente to resist.
Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco & Music Festival Dates:
4/28 Denver, CO
4/29 Albuquerque, NM
5/5 Tucson, AZ
5/12 Auburn, WA
5/13 Portland, OR