After a 16-month delay and a few major lineup changes along the way, Punk Rock Bowling returned to Las Vegas with its 22nd installment this past weekend — featuring more than 40 bands on two stages, as well 18 separate club shows. By the time Devo brought the festival to a close with an epic Sunday night set, many of those in attendance were saying that this may have been the festival’s finest year ever, a sentiment that would be difficult to argue against.
With COVID-19 protocols in place, the festival officially kicked off on Friday (September 24). Highlights throughout the day included Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Pears, and The Dwarves on the Monster Energy Stage, while The Darts, Dillinger Four and Frank Turner stood out on the main stage. Anti-Flag closed out the Monster stage with their usual high energy set, while Descendents brought the evening to a close with a set of punk-rock standards on the main stage.
Day 2 started off with stellar sets from Field Day, Plague Vendor, and The Bronx on the Monster stage, and Urethane (featuring skate legend Steve Caballero on guitar), Good Riddance, Youth Brigade, and Leftover Crack on the main stage.
The main attraction on Saturday was the recently reunited Circle Jerks, and the band did not disappoint, playing a 27-song set which included “Live Fast Die Young,” “Red Tape,” “Coup D’Etat,” and “Question Authority.”
The third and final day picked up right where day two left off, with M.D.C., The Last Gang, All, The Murder City Devils all putting on high energy sets. The Lunachicks, making their Punk Rock Bowling debut, packed the main-stage area, playing a raucous 45-minute set with “Jerk of All Trades,” “Don’t Want You,” and “Luxury Problem” all standing out.
After Municipal Waste closed out the Monster stage with their usual crushing set, it was time for Devo, the band that many had waited all weekend to see.
Opening their set with “Don’t Shoot,” Devo brought the house down with a 14-song set that included “That’s Good,” “Whip It,’ and “Uncontrollable Urge” (or what a new generation now knows as the ubiquitous theme song of MTV’s Ridiculousness) before officially closing out the festival with “Freedom of Choice.”
Like many other music festivals over the last year and a half, Punk Rock Bowling faced many challenges in pulling it all off, but by the time it was all and done they overcame most obstacles and put on one helluva punk rock party.
See our pics from Punk Rock Bowling 2021, as well as fan-filmed video clips of the headliners, below.
Photo Gallery – Punk Rock Bowling 2021 (click to enlarge and scroll through):
All photos by Raymond Ahner (@raymond_ahner)