The first annual Punk In Drublic Craft Beer and Music Festival came to Papa Murphy’s Field and showcased breweries from all over California and top punk and ska bands such as NOFX, Flogging Molly, Goldfinger, Less Than Jake, Bad Cop/Bad Cop and Get Dead. This show was ideal for fans that attended Warped Tour in its early years-featuring core groups of that era. Only this time, a generation that grew accustomed to craft beer enjoyed an experience more catered to their needs: local brews and a solid line-up. From brewery favorites such as New Glory to Stone, the punks had the right pairing. “I thought it was the Warped Tour for adults. It’s one stage, seven bands, listening to punk rock and it’s on the weekend,” says Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s Myra Gallarza. That’s right: drinking craft beer tasters while watching a circle pit expand in the crowd is the new grown-up way of watching punk rock.
Opening up the festival was Get Dead and Bad Cop/Bad Cop. Both bands are signed with Fat Wreck Chords and carry on the next torch for melodic punk bands that harkens to earlier, influential bands such as the Swingin’ Utters and No Use For A Name. San Francisco-based Get Dead came thumping out with songs such as “This One’s For Johnny” and “Welcome To Hell” which warmed up the crowd into a frenzy with sing-along anthems.
Next came Bad Cop/Bad Cop, who are currently the most talked about all-female group. With one drum count off into their set, it was apparent why the talk about them was real. As fast as they moved with their three-part harmonies and galloping drumbeats, songs such as “Retrograde” and “Broken” showcased their talent as a new force on their mostly male-dominated label. “[Fat Wreck] was my favorite record label as a teenager…and when Stacy [Dee, vocals/guitar] called me and said ‘We’re going to be putting this record out on Fat’, I said ‘You’re fucking kidding me!’ –I couldn’t want anything thing more than that,” said guitarist/vocalist Jennie Cotterill. Though they opened second as a supporting act, Bad Cop/Bad Cop will soon be headlining an East Coast run of dates and touring with Propaghandi.
Sons of Gainesville, Florida, Less Than Jake took the stage next, keeping true to their style over the last twenty years. Their unique blend of ska-punk and arena-
esque antics have always been a crowd favorite. With staples such as “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts”, “Dopeman” and “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads”, they brought the crowd into a ska dance frenzy. In a near nostalgic moment, their mascot, Evolution Kid, came out and launched T-shirts into the crowd. Less Than Jake delivered all the hallmarks of a Warped Tour show: crowd surfing, circle pits and lots of weed.
Goldfinger over the years have cemented themselves as the godfathers of So-Cal ska-punk, but have undergone a few significant changes with members of the band as well as collaborations with other artists (i.e. Blink 182). Lead singer John Feldman has kept the spirit of the band alive with a new lineup and album to boot. With backing members from MXPX and New Found Glory, songs such as “Here In Your Bedroom” to “Open Your Eyes” were played to fans who pogo danced along with Feldman as he bounced onstage and crowd surfed. To close out the relatively short set, their cover of “99 Red Balloons” sent them off reassuring to the crowd that they were back for good.
On the heels of their new album, Life Is Good, Flogging Molly still secure a space amongst acts that speak truthfully about the world we live in. Since their inception from 1993, the LA-based group have been known for their intense live shows with their specific blend of Irish folk and punk. Playing favorites such as “Devil’s Dance Floor,” “Salty Dog,” and “Drunken Lullabies,” multi-instrumentalist Bridgett Regan accompanied with lead singer/guitarist David King played as if they had never left Molly Malone’s Pub. The beautiful aspect of this band is that no matter who was be attending their show, each individual in the crowd felt like they were being sung to, despite a field filled with 6,000 other attendees.
Just as the crowd was winding down from Flogging Molly, a voice boomed over the loudspeaker: “Hey! Who’s mom is dead in this band,” asked bassist/lead singer Fat Mike to his bandmates. That’s one way to get the crowd’s attention and headliner NOFX did not disappoint. As a tribute to their craft beer collaboration, and name of their most celebrated album, Punk In Drublic, NOFX closed out the night playing favorites such as “Bob,” “Linoleum,” and “Stickin’ In My Eye, ” while also showcasing tracks from their new album, First Ditch Effort. Donning a fantastic teal dress, Mike, along with guitarists Eric Melvin and El Jefe, and drummer Smelly, played fan favorites and an improvised set list of songs they hadn’t practiced yet (and drunkenly pulling it off). But during all the raucous pits and slanted banter towards each other on stage, they delivered a somber moment by paying tribute to past lead singer of No Use For A Name, Tony Sly with “I’m So Sorry Tony.”
With festival co-founders NOFX wrapping up the night, fans were left satisfied by this new style of concert experience. Although nostalgia was a definite presence at this festival, the component which made this event relevant were the artists who knew their audience the minute craft beer tents went up: the perfect combination of both craft beer and a good mosh pit.
Words Jake Monka
Photos Joey Miller