Punk rock bowling report : Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine at LVCS
A near-60-year-old man capped off a caustic rant against Homeland Security by casting himself into a sea of rainbow-colored mohawks and studded jackets around 1 a.m. Friday morning, getting doused by beer in the process.
It’s Punk Rock Bowling time again.
The stage-diving madman was none other than Jello Biafra, the legendary former Dead Kennedys singer. Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine played opening night of the 18th annual bowling and music festival, its sixth consecutive year held in venues across Downtown, in grand fashion at LVCS.
Biafra managed a wildly incendiary performance 40 years into a career defined by them. He acknowledged how the band couldn’t supply its complete repertoire in a 40-minute slot on the festival’s main stage last year, and made up for it with a set twice as long Thursday night.
Like any Biafra show, it was part punk-rock concert, part political rally and part performance art. The band barreled through a mix of brand-new songs, cuts from its three studio albums and Dead Kennedys’ classics as Biafra pantomimed everything from a John Dillinger bank robbing to a violent car crash. Guitarists Kimo Ball and Ralph Spight provided backing rhythms in between songs as Biafra gave spoken-word interludes on topics including the dangers of fracking, privately-owned prisons and, of course, Donald Trump.
Biafra even changed Dead Kennedys staple “Nazi Punks F*ck Off” into “Nazi Trumps F*ck Off.” But the best covers of the night may have come from Angry Samoans, which played in direct support.
The late-1970s LA band played tribute to its peers in Black Flag with renditions of “Wasted” and “Nervous Breakdown,” setting the bar high for Saturday’s headliners Flag—which contains four former members of Black Flag. The “I don’t want to grow up” ethos of Sunday night’s headliners, the Descendents, closer matches Angry Samoans, though.
Vocalist Mike Saunders and drummer Bill Vockeroth, both original members, are older than Biafra but fumed with the same fury. They switched positions for a three-song stretch, and shared humorous exchanges throughout. One running gag involved mentioning things that aren’t punk rock, i.e. encores and timeliness. Competition was luckily never suggested because the show would have disproven it.
Each band seemed driven to top the performance of the last on the stage. The night started with a rare appearance from M.I.A., which started locally in 1980 before relocating to Orange County, as it tore through 25 minutes of fast-paced hardcore to get the circle pit primed and swirling.
Punk Rock Bowling seems to start earlier annually, with Thursday’s club shows making it a five-day affair for the first time this year. As long as the festival can keep compiling lineups as compelling as Thursday’s, there’s no chance of fatigue setting in.
Source : Las Vegas Weekly du 27/05/16