The Bash Proves Punk is Immortal
Photography & Words by Angela RoseRed
“This is history in the making.” Tim Armstrong howled proudly in the microphone among a sea of brew connoisseurs, rudies and punks from all waves at the first ever Bash Beer and Music Festival. The crowd responded with a unified chant which proved that his statement was factual.
Hosted and headlined by Rancid, the event series kick off location was in Phoenix, Arizona on May 11th, at Margaret T. Hance Park. Although it is currently scheduled for seven other locations, the vibe throughout the day was designed for a one of a kind experience for show goers. Admission tickets covered cost of entry, an early afternoon beer tasting event, access to unique food vendors, as well as a tailored popup Punk Rock and Paint Brushes art showing, alongside a solid lineup. Still, one might question the integrity behind its initial inspiration. Has this been the only beer themed festival to make noise within the alternative community? No. Will there be other wannabe events of its kind in the future? Probably. However, whatever the commonalities might be, it harvested two things that cannot be duplicated: it was produced with a lot of heart and a pure desire to serve unaltered punk rock.
This was my first big festival press opportunity, so my insides were overtaken by nerves and excitement. Before arriving, my entire social media feed consisted of many bystanders who took selfies with the master mind behind the entire shindig, Mr. Time Bomb himself. That kind of loyalty and appreciation to his fans cannot be manufactured. It was evident that this event was truly his punk rock baby, nurtured throughout its conception. During the beer tasting portion, Hellcat had an acoustic stage that provided an overall casual impromptu feel. Elvis Cortez from Left Alone was one of the few to perform. After his set, he asked our very own Gaby Kaos to play the song “Don’t Believe” from her new solo project. She really did her Sound Sisters proud!
As the day progressed, so did the number of attendees. The main stage acts took over the last half of the festival. The national bill consisted of H2O, L7, Suicidal Tendencies and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been deciding the lineup order. All of the bands are heavy hitters and worthy of opening for Rancid. However, H2O was up first and they did not disappoint. They played a solid set that was a perfect musical appetizer, which left the crowd hungry for more. Following suit was powerhouse L7 that started out heavy and ended even heavier. As the first song came to a close, I looked around in photo pit. It was not until that moment when I realized there were no other female photographers shooting the show. Generally gender tallying is not a common occurrence for me, but I could not help to notice a surreal feeling that washed over me as I snapped each frame of the musical feminist icons. The impact was undeniable and gave me a sense of empowerment like no other. Next up, was Suicidal Tendencies who undoubtedly has one of the best stage performances I have ever seen. They did not simply play the set, they raged. From band members catapulting themselves off of stacked amps, to hissing Suicidal at audience members and Cyco Miko doing his signature thrash stomp, it was a punk playground free for all. This caused me to run from each side of the stage hoping to capture a glimpse of their rawness. Finally, it was time for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones grace the stage. This band had been on my concert bucket list since my formative years in the 90s. One would think that the older version could not possibly live up to expectations made by my younger self. Dead wrong! The horn section was flawless and all the band members fell into their hit songs as well as new ones and created a harmonious ska experience. The skanking game was on point as so was their positive message to simply “leave the show with a smile on your face”. Mission Accomplished.
The crowd was now fully primed, and it was time for Rancid. In true form, Rancid ran on stage belting out “Radio”. As I frantically clicked the shutter release on my camera I could not help but rebuttal back chanting, “when I got the music, I got a place to go.” I then focus my camera on Armstrong’s signature Gretsch. Silently, I gave my respects to the instrument that provided a soundtrack through many stages of my life. Then, I jumped over to stage right and gratefully smiled at that moment in time. I looked up and for a brief second locked eye with Lars Frederiksen. To my surprise he quickly flashed a grin back at me to acknowledge that I was a fan living out my dream right there in the photo pit. We are all aware that “punk is not dead”. Truth be told, The Bash was not just another festival, but a communal gathering instilling that punk is immortal and we are all connected by the music.