To round off the Punk in Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival: NOFX, Bad Religion and the rest in company finish this leg of the tour in Pittsburgh, PA.
I first heard of Punk in Drublic Fest buzzing around last summer and thought: "Why hasn't this been a thing until now?". Every concert I've ever gone to has always started with tailgating or enjoying a few drinks at the bar before going in shit-faced or at least with a descent buzz on.
While first entering Highmark Stadium at Station Square in Pittsburgh, I was greeted with a sampling cup for the free craft beer tasting. From there visited some of the over 2 dozen beer vendor tents which stretched down the middle of Highmark's field and sampled craft beer which went on from 1pm-4pm. The tents were set up similar to Warped Tour's merch tents.
On either side, bordering the beer tents were food and beer vendors while towards the exit, band merch tents. The Punk in Drublic stage loomed over the end of the field and off stage right were the VIP section sat. The VIP, if purchased gave you access to a lounge type area, early entrance, cash bar, and more. The beer tents came to a halt at 4pm as music was already underway, where from there you could continue to buy alcohol, food and merch until the show's end.
Looking around in between samplings: FOUR SEASONS BREWING CO., RHINEGEIST, HOP FARM & GREAT LAKES BREWING CO. just to name a few, it hit me; "Somehow, Fat Mike brought the tailgating party into the venue."
Pretty much taking all of the shitty aspects about festivals and doing away with them, the show promoted a 21+ age entrance, 5 bands, free beer until 4pm and a show climax at 9pm. Babysitters can even be home before curfew.
There were 6 bands on the show, 5 touring and Pittsburgh's own HOMELESS GOSPEL CHOIR who hit the stage first belting songs of hope, protest, and growing up in Pittsburgh as a young punk with quick whit and catchy lyrics and is now a new personal favorite of mine.
EVERYONE - Homeless Gospel Choir
All female punk band BAD COP BAD COP hit the stage around 3:00pm, waking the crowd up from the afternoon sun, so much to even resurrect the the dinosaurs. (Photo will explain.) The lady quartet blared anthems like Retrograde, and Womananarchist many of which off of their 2017 album WARRIORS. Fun Fact: Drummer, Myra Gallarza is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers Fan.
VICTORIA - Bad Cop/ Bad Cop
In between bands I found Fat Mike with Eric Melvin handing out samples of NOFX's own Stone Brewing Punk in Drublic beer to fans, grabbed a sample and a couple photos.
One of the two ska bands on for the fest were up next: MAD CADDIES. Seeing these guys a few times already in the past, I already knew that I was going to a sick set. As my buddy Will says: "You just can't frown while listening to ska." The guys tore through their set with all of the hits including a brilliant reggae cover of Green Day's "She", a precursor to their new punk cover album PUNK ROCKSTEADY out JUNE via Fat Wreck Chords.
I had a chance to sit down with Mad Caddies and talk with them before NOFX hit the stage. CHECK IT OUT HERE
LA based, clad suit wearing, THE INTERRUPTERS fronted by female vocalist Aimee Interrupter set fire to the stage with tunes like She's Kerosene, She Got Arrested and a cover of Operation Ivy's Sound System, which all too well fits the band's ska-punk sound, not to mention Tim Armstrong from Op. Ivy/ Rancid has already guest and produced many of their tracks including their upcoming album FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT coming out this JUNE.
SHE'S KEROSENE - The Interrupters
Highmark Stadium's center field had cleared by now, most of the crowd pushed to the front or crashed in the bleachers, or turf in anticipation for co-headliner #1 of the evening BAD RELIGION . The over 30+ year veterans of punk rock, have been a crucial influence to many bands over the years including NOFX themselves.
BAD RELIGION crushed through all of their hits from Generator to American Jesus, including their ENTIRE Suffer record to which singer Greg Graffin, joked about. "For around 30 yrs. now, people have wondered "When is Bad Religion going to play that album in its entirety." Actually no one has ever asked us that, but we're going to do it anyway."
SUFFER - Bad Religion
As the sun came to a day's end, and most anticipated rain, NOFX hit the stage doing so in typical laissez-faire style. Before even beginning the guys made sure the sun was down, and chatted about how great it was to not have kids at the show, Mike joked about how a guy in the show talked to his wife and kids through the gate, while guitarist Eric Melvin blurted "Hey! I miss my kids..."
The band opened up with 60% off of Wolves in Wolves Clothing into Dinosaurs Will Die. From there they played fan favorites old and new taking time in between songs to poke fun way the current Warped Tour is, and about the ironic last time NOFX played in Pittsburgh when the venue lost its liquor license, and they bought kegs of beer for fans at the show.
13 STITCHES - NOFX
After a little more than an hour of NOFX's set, it was as if the plug was abruptly cut after their last song Kill All The White Man. The guys exited the stage while waving, and throw guitar pics to the fans. And while the band didn't play the song 13 Stitches, it sounds only fitting because later that night it was revealed on Instagram that Mike ended up cutting his hand on stage somewhere during the set bad enough to go to the ER in Pittsburgh and get stitches. PHOTO HERE
With the PUNK ROCK BOWLING FEST just up in Vegas, here's wishes to a speedy recovery. And hey! If you missed this show and want to see all of these bands plus Rancid, Pennywise, along with campfire stories, dodgeball tournaments and more! Then the guys are back on the east coast to Thornville, OH on June, 1st for CAMP Punk in Drublic.
Check out more on ANY of these bands or the Punk in Drublic Festival in the links below:
HOMELESS GOSPEL CHOIR
BAD COP/BAD COP
PUNK IN DRUBLIC FESTIVAL
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