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The Bash: Phoenix!

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. read more

Surf City Blitz Recap!

Punk rock music and motorcycles came together at a beach for 2 days for Surf City Blitz. The event lived up to its name drawing hordes of locals and travelers from all over. Being an Arizonan, I was looking forward to some nice sea breezes and killer music. Thankfully the weather and lineup throughout the weekend did not disappoint, making it well worth traveling the long distance to Huntington Beach.

 

Day One

I traveled down from North Hollywood and suffered through some gnarly traffic due to an accident. Unfortunately, I missed the first 4 bands including one of my favorite bands TSOL. Luckily, I arrived in time to catch FEAR. They never tour and this is one of the bands that made me want to attend the event in the first place. I was stoked to see two of the original members were on the roster. Aside from Lee Ving on guitar and vocals, Johnny Backbeat was behind the drum kit, which I was thankful to witness because no one else could replicate his unique drum style. His drumming truly helped define FEARS sound and I was glad to cross that off my concert bucket list.

Suicidal Tendencies was up next and they fucking delivered. Arguably, they were one of the best sets all weekend. Mike Muirs’ energy and positivity throughout their set and inspired me as a musician. He told old war stories from being a young kid being told, “you can’t dress like a cholo and be a punk rocker.” Well, we all know he fucking did it anyway! He said, “we were not victims. We were victorious!” They even had Institutionalized on the set list which is a song they rarely play live. Needless to say, the crowd went insane. Rightfully so, because it was fucking amazing.

Next was bro punks Pennywise. This had to be one of the best sets I’ve seen. That is saying something coming from someone who was lucky enough to watch their set from behind Byron McMackin’s drum kit at Punk Rock Bowling and to be thrown right into Fletcher Dragge during Brohym (surviving and being able to tell you this now). Jim’s energy was up and I wanted to be in front with him whipping and thrashing around. They even covered Bestie Boys and at one point brought out the Vandals. The fucking Vandals showed up and played that Cowboy Diddy. Joe Escalante was nowhere to be seen so Randy Bradbury filled in on bass.

The Offspring closed out the night, and at this point, I jumped a barricade with my girlfriend into the VIP section to get closer. It was awesome to see a big beach circle pit during their set. They played all their radio hits including that one that skyrocketed them into TRL’s top 10 with Carson Daly back in the day. You know you remember that jam.

 

Day Two

With driving, parking, and walking we arrived just in time to find a spot against the barricade and watch The Interrupters. The Interrupters are one of those bands that just get better and better every time I see them. They are on point with their looks, the stage presence, and their banter. Aimee Interrupter is a boss babe and her energy is always well delivered. They covered the Sound System by Operation Ivy and ended their set with family but there was no Tim Armstrong on stage for this one. Bummer.

Next was the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They were really good for their type of music, but I would have had them play before The Interrupters to help with the flow of the lineup. The crowd seemed a bit lackluster and more entertained with the beach balls being bumped back n forth.

Bad Religion was up and the crowd really filled and everyone was stoked to see them. They came out to an 8bit version of My Sharona. The set seemed short, but it was probably because they are so fun to watch and thrash to so time just flew right by. I loved watching Jay Bentley smile thru their set and Greg Graffin’s vocals sounded perfect. At one point my girlfriend turns to me and says “Greg is hot”….alrighty then…. Who am I to argue?

Rancid was solid as always. They played hits from a variety of their albums and even the new one. Kevin Bivona shredding on the keyboard throughout the set. At one point someone raised up an American flag from the crowd that had a Rancid banner attached to it. It was a rad sentiment because it made me feel like we were at some huge stadium festival from the 80s.

Social Distortion closed out the night and sounded amazing. Their light show was the best of all the bands that played. Mike brought up his son to play Ball and Chain. A bittersweet moment to watch between father and son.

All in all this fest was legit. It was a weekend filled with punk rock historical milestones. In addition to the bands, there were a lot of booths and extras with the bike portion of the festival. I hope this is an annual thing since it created many musical memories that will never fade.

 

 

Girl Gang Tour 2018

Girl Gang Tour 2018

Life changing concerts can be few in far between. Yes, every live musical event is its own unique unicorn from the good to the bad and well sometimes embarrassing. I love all ends of the spectrum, but those mind-altering shows that rock your core can leave an unforgettable imprint. Somehow, I had the lucky fortune of experiencing that music milestone for three punk rock nights alongside women who breed comradery through expressionism.

Like most random experiences, it all started with a social media interaction. Drea Doll, the frontwoman/guitarist from the Venomous Pinks, was promoting the then-upcoming Girl Gang tour with California’s Bad Cop / Bad Cop, Go Betty Go and The Glam Skanks. Having some history photographing the Pinks and harvesting a serious fangirl obsession for the rest of the bill, I jokingly replied to her post, “Want me to crash on your hotel floor and document/photograph the experience?” Next thing I knew, I was submitting vacation time at my corporate day job, packing my gear with a sleeping bag in tow to join the Pinks on their last three stops on tour. I was unable to attend the kick-off gig in Las Vegas, so I tagged along for the remaining dates. Never the less, I was just as amped to cover the second stop even though it was right in my hometown Tempe, Arizona. Rightfully so, the venue was at the Yucca Tap Room which is known for its intimate setting with shows that truly rage. That night was indeed no exception. The crowd was packed, but this did not stop me from joining the rest of the photographers who claimed their space on the ground in front of the stage. Fans stumbled and shoved one another on top of us, which only fueled my excitement. Photographer veteran and one of my personal artistic heroes David LeRoy Hunsaker were amongst many who were shooting at the front. He kindly offered some of his lenses to use which made my shots and night that much more memorable. All the bands played with high energy while feeding off the crowd who wanted more.

The next day I loaded up the van with The Venomous Pinks’ band members Drea Doll, Gaby Kaos, Miranda Duffy and Julie Neff along with their merch babe Ashley Berkowitz. We traveled a few hours away to another staple Arizona venue, The Greenroom. Since there was a lot of time between sound check and show time, all four bands were getting to know one another better, taking selfies and helping out where it was needed. It was a very united vibe from start to finish, which was refreshing. Meanwhile, I was able to get to share trade stories with Billy Skelly, owner, and photojournalist of 99% Magazine. To be honest, when someone told me he was on tour documenting Bad Cop / Bad Cop  I wanted to stay home because his photography skills are nothing short of extraordinary. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Skelly is one of the most approachable and humble photogs I have ever encountered. He was eager to give words of encouragement and share pointers. It’s safe to say we became fast photo buddies. One of the most distinctive aspects of this show is that it was all ages. Witnessing mothers taking their little girls to see these badass woman rage the stage was nothing short of inspirational. Doll’s little cousin was in the crowd gazed at her with admiration that gave me hope for our next generation of lady warriors.

Next stop was California to rock The Viper Room. This marked my first visit to the infamous club, and it did not disappoint. Standing in a venue I had only read about, really turned my “small town” switch on and in some way made the night that much more significant. Like a scene out of a movie, I quickly ran into people who I only knew as social media accounts. Every face in the packed crowd was punk rock beautiful, illuminated by the lighting of a stage with a moving curtain that closed between acts. Hollywood vibe aside, the most exhilarating part was the dynamic of all the bands who served harder than ever before. The Glam Skanks slayed with their glittery unapologetic sexy sounds that always demands respect. Followed up by my ladies, The Venomous Pinks who thrashed with an intensity that was pure punk fucking rock at heart and left the swarm wanting more. Their performance made me proud to call myself an “Arizonan that is with the Pinks.” Go Betty Go came in with their energetic set that always encourages their fans to accomplish what they want in life. During their set, I witnessed a former singer share the stage with the current vocalist. Also, the touring bassist stepped aside to cheer on the full-time lineup. It was musicianship like I have never witnessed before. Lastly, Bad Cop / Bad Cop displayed flawless harmonies and a tight set. They cheered while making “fuck Trump” speeches and also brought awareness to deeper issues like suicide prevention. I was so captivated that I sung at the top of my lungs almost forgetting to take photos. As the tour came to an end, it was apparent that the connections made between musicians would be longstanding.

Looking back, I realize seeing musical idols play alongside the hometown heroes gives a sense of accomplishment that is outside of oneself. It was a tour filled with ladies of all ages and background building one another up instead of tearing each other down with competition. In some aspect, the  member of each band on tour became a friend; even those who may not remember my name a year from now or even knew it in the first place. How so? Simply put, for a brief moment I lived their music. There’s nothing like witnessing dreams come true while listening to a killer live soundtrack. Coming back to my corporate cubical jungle, I was much more aware of the calmness and stillness that consumed my daily work tasks. It was like someone suddenly muted my existence. Fortunately, my ears were still ringing from the music of days past, and that left a grin on my face that no one around me could ever fully understand. For that, I knew the lyrics I heard on tour would be forever tattooed in my heart.

 

Words and Photography by Angela RoseRed