Punk Rock Bowling is so many different things, all at once: a familial gathering of punks from around the country, a wet and wild music festival that somehow makes Downtown Vegas even more unhinged, a reason to get blitzed in a pool at noon as one of the dudes from The Specials kicks out the jams. With so much to see and do (and drink), we offer up a handy guide of things you must accomplish at PRB 2016. Next round’s on you, chief.
• Watch Keith Morris impersonate a nuclear reactor melting down. The Flag frontman is like a massive pile of frayed nerve endings zipped into a man suit. He doesn’t sing so much as detonate his vocal chords like fleshy sticks of dynamite. Flag, which also played PRB 2013, is chief among the fest’s can’t-miss returnees, a list that includes the caffeine-craving Descendents, anarcho-punk rabble rousers the Subhumans and the festival’s founding fathers, Youth Brigade. Must-see newbies include the iconic Buzzcocks, a reunited Dag Nasty and Brit badasses The Exploited. Time to get bit by the dogs of war.
• Get totally baked … in the sun. The Punk Rock Bowling pool parties have become this stuff of legend—for those who manage to remember them the next day. Sun, suds, bands—what more do you need, apart from Excedrin? Soundtracking the festivities this go-round at the Plaza will be the Lower Class Brats, Angelic Upstarts, Clorox Girls and more. See if you can start a circle pit underwater, tough guy.
• Catch full-moon fever. As much of a randy kick as it was to see The Dwarves the last time they played the PRB main stage in 2013, it was almost as fun scanning the alternately bemused and horrified faces of security staff in proximity to bare-assed guitarist Hewhocannotbenamed (He likes to perform in a spiked leather G-string, a Luchador mask and little else). The Dwarves, PRB regulars, are never to be missed, no ifs, ands or butts—with one notable exception.
• Root, root, root for the home team. It’s always cool to see Vegas acts on the big stage—scratch that, it’s usually pretty damn hot, as they go in the early afternoon. But while the sun can be a bummer, catching Vegas bands play in front of the pretty receptive PRB crowd and potentially make some new fans is anything but. This year, the lineup boasts punk lifers The Damnit Jims, ska cutups Be Like Max, femme fireballs The Negative Nancys and the ever-earnest Rayner. C’mon, show up early and get a sunburn in the name of local pride.
PUNK ROCK BOWLING Festival May 28-30, $120/weekend, $45/day; club shows May 26-30, prices vary. Downtown Las Vegas, punkrockbowling.com.