Fat Mike and NOFX bring Punk in Drublic to the City of Brotherly Love HOME PAGE: Punk In Drublic 2018 @ Festival Pier 5/13/18
PHILADELPHIA, PA- Fat Mike and the guys from NOFX brought their trademark craft beer and music festival “Punk in Drublic” to the City of Brotherly Love on Sunday, May 13, 2018. The Festival named after the bands critically acclaimed album featured performances by NOFX, Bad Religion, The Interrupters, Mad Caddies and The Last Gang.
The festival, which is in its second year, began as a partnership between California based Stone Brewing and NOFX and plays well into the current craft beer craze. The connection of craft beer and punk rock being fueled by the creative nature of both, specifically the need to create something different, something bold and something unique.
Depending on your ticket option the festival included up to three hours of craft beer tasting as well as local food options. VIP ticket holders were given early entry, an extra hour of beer tasting, private bathrooms and a covered seating area. With the trend in music festivals being bigger is better, this event had five bands playing one stage over a six-hour period, making for a very relaxed pace with no difficult choices.
Arriving on site to a torrential down poor seemed like a bad way to start the day but things cleared out quickly as the flow of festival-goers began. An endless stream of Doc Marten, studded denim vest wearing punk rockers trudging through water mud and dirt, the gritty nature of the scene on full display. Defining the punk scene would be an endless endeavor ultimately leading to frustration. Is it about rebellion? Is it about fighting the system? The true punk scene continually borrows from its past, it hasn’t changed much and I think people have a tendency to over think it. Patti Smith once said, “Punk rock is just another word for freedom”, and I believe this is the true essence of the scene.
First on stage was The Last Gang, a three-piece band from Orange County who’s touring in support of their freshman album “Keep Them Counting”, which dropped this past March via Fat Wreck Chords Records. The last Gang instantly intrigued me when they took the stage; front woman Brenna Red’s bright green hair blowing in the wind was the perfect complement to her cutting guitar riffs and raspy vocals, compelling the attention of the crowd. The Last Gang plays a fast and tight style with the movement of the band members adding to the force of their musical arrangements, bassist Sean Viele adding a technical aspect to their sound. Rugged vocals, pounding drums and screaming guitars contributed to a set that was much more than I expected. The Last Gang played a raucous set of vintage punk rock and unassumingly left the stage as they came.
The Mad Caddies wasted no time getting down to business with their up-tempo ska beats turning the venue into a non-stop dance party. Slinking through a set of dated classics as well as more recent material the California based band navigated through familiar area via their punctuated rhythms and sweeping guitar riffs. The energy of ska music is infectious in its intensity with audiences being wildly energetic chanting and singing along to every word. The Mad Caddies helped set the stage for a night of great music!
Opening up with “Take Back the Power,” The Interrupters took to the stage like true veterans. Kevin, Justin and Jessie dressed in identical retro suits and ties, Aimee wearing a leather jacket, Fred Perry shirt and Doc Martens. The Interrupters are riding a wave of momentum, recently announcing the release date of their third studio album “Fight The Good fight”, set to drop on June 29 via Hellcat/Epitaph Records.
Immediately setting the tone for their set, Aimee mesmerized the crowd with her infectious smile and distinct vocals, working the entire stage from side to side. The Interrupters create a welcome environment, encouraging and engaging with their fans who energetically singalong to every song. The set continued with “This is The New Sound”, “Jenny Drinks”, “Sound System” by Operation Ivy and “She’s Kerosene” off their soon to be released album. The band has a stage presence that enraptures all, Kevin having several shredding guitar solos, Jessie on the Drums and Justin’s driving bass lines and aerial feats punctuating their performance. The Interrupters are quite unique in that they appeal to the masses while remaining true to the scene, they clearly are one of the crowd favorites and are a band you need to see live.
For a band more than 30 years old Bad Religion still knows a thing or two about rocking out. Wasting no time, they hit the stage and set a frenetic pace ripping through several songs, starting with “Recipe for Hate” and the crowd favorite “Fuck You” which included Greg Graffin playfully flipping off the crowd from the stage. After the initial barrage, and during some banter with the crowd, Graffin received an ear-piercing response when he announced that they’d be playing the entire album “Suffer” from cover to cover.
Bad Religion continued in what I can only describe as a musical beat down, forcefully dragging the crowd back in time to the roots of punk rock, with an energy level that had the crowd uncontrollable. Bad Religion seemed completely on point tonight delivering their text book version of melodic style punk rock via Graffin’s distinct vocals and the bands trademark harmonies. During their set a constant flow of euphoric crowd surfers were pouring over the barrier in total reckless abandon, the crowd and band seeming to feed off each other’s energy. Bad Religion played a total of twenty-nine songs during their set, which included a nine-song encore.
The “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Show blares over the P.A. system and Fat Mike, Eric Melvin, Erik Sandin and El Hefe calmly make their way onto the stage, Fat Mike dressed smartly in a mid-thigh maroon velvet dress, studded leather jacket, fishnets and Doc Martens sporting his trademark magenta mohawk.
After a few minutes of the usual banter, NOFX began their set with “60%,” and “Dinosaurs Will Die”, El Hefe shredding it on guitar and Melvin delivering the rhythm. Spotlights work the stage but stay mainly focused on front man Fat Mike. The set continued with NOFX launching into punk anthems from its sprawling discography including “Six Years on Dope,” Linoleum,” and “72 Hookers”, the crowd getting more involved by the minute. NOFX rocked the house with their energy, for a bunch of aging punk rockers they radiate exuberance. NOFX played a total of twenty-three songs during their hour-long set.
Punk in Drublic was a welcome change to the current, bigger is better trend in music festivals. With one stage and five musical acts this festival was very manageable, with longer set times, and no overlap of schedules. Big props to NOFX and Stone Brewing for organizing this event, and all the bands for the great music including The Last Gang, Mad Caddies, The Interrupters, Bad Religion and NOFX.