Red Rocks Beer Festival:
Punk in Drublic
August 25, 2019
Red Rocks, Denver, CO
My summer of bottomless beer, food truck grub, and obnoxiously loud (and just plain obnoxious) punk bands continues. This time, the debauchery made the hike up to beautiful and scenic Red Rocks Amphitheatre thanks to longtime NOFX mouthpiece Fat Mike. He brought his traveling caravan of melodic miscreants to the 2nd Annual Red Rocks Beer Festival, which featured tons of nearby and far-flung craft breweries including Guinness, Crooked Stave, Stone, Odell, Great Divide, Ska, Tommyknocker, and Ratio Beerworks, among many others. Topped off with a wide assortment of food trucks, festivalgoers had numerous options for stuffing their faces before banging their heads.
The musical festivities got off to a bang with upstarts Bad Cop Bad Cop followed by underground heroes The Lawrence Arms and Wyoming’s own Teenage Bottlerocket. The Bouncing Souls were entertaining as always with catchy SoCal skater anthems such as “Hopeless Romantic,” “Kate is Great,” and “Lean on Sheena.” Fat Mike’s other band, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, still don’t have much original material to play, but that’s kinda the point: the band plies its trade in saccharine sweet pop-punk renditions of drive-home radio staples. Opening with Cher’s “Believe,” delivering a nod to the expansive Colorado environs surrounding them with “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by local favorite John Denver, and concluding on an almost poignant note via Boyz II Men’s mournful “End of the Road,” Me First covered the bases of pop hits of yesteryear. Even sprightly covers “Jolene” and “On the Road Again” had just enough tonk for these honkys.
As the sun set over the rouge landscape, Fat Mike and his band of puckish punks took the stage. In between extended bouts of no-brow banter among bandmembers, NOFX slashed through a setlist replete with fan favorites “Murder the Government” and “Linoleum.” After returning from a brief respite, Mike and the crew welcomed Baz's Philharmonic Orchestra for the encore’s full-length performance of “The Decline.” A near-20 minute symphonic rock masterpiece, the tune was a fantastic denouement to not only the Punk in Drublic fest, but my summer of boozy music bashes. Alas, there’s always next year.
By Steve Lustig