Rancid’s Set Cut Short But The Bash Still Rocked The Bash Festival Rolls Through Englishtown, New Jersey But Is Curtailed Due To Inclement Weather
ENGLISHTOWN, NJ – Rancid’s “The Bash Craft Beer & Music Festival” made its inaugural visit to the Garden State on Sunday June 2nd bringing with it a cast of West Coast and local bands, beer and unfortunately severe weather. The festival is playing select dates throughout the Country during May & June, pairing local and National craft beer with food and music (punk / hardcore).
Created via collaboration between punk rock legends Rancid, promoter Synergy Global Entertainment and Brew Ha Ha Productions this has the potential to be a truly special annual event. Tim Armstrong of Rancid recently said how excited they were to take this show on the road, and how he’s looking forward to sharing the stage with the other great bands in the lineup. To create something truly special for the inaugural run, Rancid collaborated with Colorado based Ska Brewing in creating a commemorative brew called Brewstomper Ale, which will be available at all stops along the way. John Reese of SGE (co-producer) commented on the bands (Rancid) involvement in the development of the festival adding, that they wanted to do something special and different for their fans, seems to me that they have done just that.
Starting things off at The Bash was New York hardcore band Madball, who came out swinging. Madball’s pedigree as a NYHC band is undeniable, with a lineage going back to 1988; front man Freddy Cricien got his start sharing the microphone with his brother (half) Roger Miret of Agnostic Front. Madball took the stage, opening their set with “Rev up”, a heart pounding, frenetically paced song that had Freddy Cricien drenched in sweat by its end. The hardcore scene is not about fashion statements, haircuts or any other trendy bullshit, what it’s about is positivity, understanding, self-help and honesty, and that’s exactly the message that Madball delivers in its music.
Madball seems to have been reborn since their early 90’s days, evolving into a focused, fun to see, banging band. Gone are the days of fights, violence and the element of danger present at their shows, however there remains a sense of urgent, undeniable energy in their music, forever connecting them to the hardcore scene.
From there, Madball went into a few older songs including “Heaven Hell,” and “We the People”, then bounced back to 2018 with “The Fog” off the band’s album, For the Cause. What really catches me about Madball is the pace and intensity of their live show; this band keeps a blazing pace from start to finish delivering a sound thats, dominant, hard and fast.
L7 will forever be associated with the 90’s grunge movement, but I think there’s more to their story than that. Unlike bands from the same era, L7 not only has a distinct and unique sound, but also perfected the art of molding sharp and catchy songs. Straddling the line of being grunge or riot grrrls, L7 possess a style all to themselves with an undeniable quirky, punk sound.
With hearts pounding and heads banging L7 began their set with the standout hit “Andres” off the band’s early album Hungry for Stink. It felt like 1995 again, L7’s infectious energy a testimony to the power of live music and the passion of the crowd. L7 tore through their short (weather delayed) set dominated with high points, a reminder that their greatest asset was always the caliber of their songwriting and execution.
L7 proves that you don’t have to live in a preconceived box to be a good rock & roll band, and that well executed sonics and lyrics trump overly indulgent deliveries every day. In spite of being delayed and playing a very short set Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardener, Jenn Finch and Demetra Plakas reinforced that L7 is still one of the best live bands today.
When Suicidal Tendencies took the stage, you could feel the energy bump up a few notches, really stoking the fire in the crowd. The Venice based hardcore band has gone through a few lineup changes throughout the years with the only original member being front man Mike Muir. Watching this band perform was incredible with axe man Ben Weinman delivering blistering guitar work and stunning areal feats, while Muir worked the crowd into a frenzy with his veteran stage presence. During a pause in the action Mike Muir took a few to talk with the crowd about existing outside the boundaries of life and living life by your own terms.
As the set continued, so did the flow of fans over the barrier. One thing that was very clear is that ST fans go hard… very hard… with the band responding delivering the hurt in a major way. As it was getting near the end of their set, Ben Weinman set off into the crowd, playing while being held up by fans.
This set was classic Suicidal Tendencies all the way with screaming guitar solos, jumps and band members in the crowd. As the band left the stage the crowd could be heard chanting ST, ST, ST at the top of their lungs.
It’s not often on the East Coast that we get to see West Coast bands, and one of the most anticipated was Pennywise. Pennywise was the last up prior to the headliner Rancid, and rode a wave of momentum onto the stage starting their set with “Peaceful Day” going all the way back to 1995. As Pennywise began working through their set you could sense that they were all business, no chatter from the band just banging song after banging song. Watching Jim Lindberg work the crowd gave me a real sense of appreciation for the dedicated front man vocalist types, who can dedicate all their attention on the crowd. As I watched, you could see him at the barrier getting the crowd fired up before moving to another spot, working as only a true veteran would.
Pennywise has a very unique sound anchored by bassist Randy Bradbury, complimented by guitar slinger Fletcher Dragge who combine to deliver the layered sonics that are Pennywise. The band played a non-stop high energy set that could only be described as a musical beatdown, covering killer songs like “Fuck Authority,” Bro Hymn” and “Minor Threat” (cover). Pennywise had a great set at The Bash Festival.
Lars Fredrickson was first on stage followed by his bandmates Tim Armstrong, Matt Freeman and Branden Steineckert, the simple understated stage layout in direct contrast to the bands take no prisoner style. Rancid, originally formed in the early 90’s may just be the most influential punk band of their era, always attracting a multi-generational crowd. Punk music and the scene in general are rather unique in that it’s changed, and managed to stay the same over the years, if that makes sense.
Rancid, unfortunately was only was able to play five songs prior to the show being shut down due to lightning, but covered a few classics like “Roots Radical,” Radio,” Journey to the End of the East Bay,” Maxwell Murder” and “The 11th Hour” before the deluge. As the band quickly exited the stage a public service announcement urged fans to quickly seek refuge in their vehicles, the show was over.
While Rancid had a very short set, what always stands out to me is their live show, which needs to be experienced. Listening to their studio work only tells part of the story, one dimension. Seeing this band live add’s texture, sights and sounds and delivers a sensory overloading experience that is, Rancid.
This was a great event, there are few things better that 100 breweries and a day of great punk and hardcore bands. Big thanks to Rancid, Pennywise, Suicidal Tendencies, L7 and Madball for the great music and the event management who kept everyone safe, see you next time.