Cock Sparrer at Punk Rock Bowling 2017. Photo: Tyson Heder
Punk Rock Bowling: where everyone who attends is decked out in studs, leather and bristles. Here they come to congregate for a weekend of music-inspired debauchery. This festival attracts punk from across the globe, which includes the infamous Turbojugend, street punks, crusties, ageing rock n’ rollers, weekend warriors and everyone in between. Within the confines of the festival itself, paychecks and pocket money are spent at booths catering to all subcultural needs and wants—whether it be records from Tang or Radiation, pins and clothes or radical literature from PM Press or thisisindecline.com. There were also food trucks and drink stalls, where, for an arm and a leg, one can stay drunk, fed or hydrated depending on levels of sobriety and motivation.
Check out my full article on Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival 2017 published by SLUG Magazine!!
Cock Sparrer. Photo: Sam Bruce
When it comes to Oi! as a subgenre of punk, Cock Sparrer immediately come to mind. They originally formed in the East End of London in 1972 during the height of the glam rock era. They played glam covers before witnessing the birth of the first wave of English punk. In 1977, they signed on with Decca Records and released their first single, “Runnin Riot.” Unfortunately, the record did not chart well, and they were soon released from Decca. This was in spite of having a whole album’s worth of material already. This self-titled record would only be released in Spain, but later saw a U.K. reissue as True Grit after being picked up by Razer Record in 1987.
After several years on hiatus, Cock Sparrer began attracting attention within the second wave of U.K. punk. With songs about working class life (”Working”) and art-school-punk skepticism (“Where Are They Now”), Cock Sparrer fit right in with the Oi! movment. There, they found themselves among like-minded groups like The Cockney Rejects and Infa Riot. Over the years, Cock Sparrer have taken numerous breaks and released seven studio albums—among other recordings—and the most recent, Forever, came out in April 2017. On May 29, Cock Sparrer will play the Punk Rock Bowling Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be their third time performing the festival. Before venturing down to the city of sin, Colin Mcfaull and Daryl Smith chat about the relevance of punk 40 years on, the history of Oi!, recording Here We Stand and Forever, Brexit and much more.
Check out the full interview with Cock Sparrer published by SLUG Magazine!
Photos courtesy of Tyson Heder
If one were to choose to walk through the layered depths of the punk rock community, they should strive to find themselves wallowing in the heat of the Punk Rock Bowling Festival. The festival is held on a parking lot adjacent to Fremont, and its largely open space lacks cover from the blistering heat of the sun. One can always purchase a $2 water to stay hydrated, although I’d wager that more money is probably spent on pints and whiskey cokes. The festival attendees are as diverse as the variety of punky hair colors, though there is the fascinating commonality of wearing all black, as if to tempt the wrath of heat exhaustion. The unforgiving heat aside, this gathering serves to inspire community and camaraderie under the banner of all things punk rock. The festival is a space where one can feel at home and comfortable while surrounded by those who celebrate the varied degrees of a storied subculture. Here, one can get all the applicable accessories from clothing, pins, hats and rare records from stalls like that of Anaheim, California’s Radiation Records. Unlike years past which have been largely apolitical, this year’s Punk Rock Bowling has an unofficial theme of denouncing Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump—a sentiment that is easy and popular to get behind.
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Union Organizer Press
have been to Las Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling many times and I have somehow managed to survive the hedonistic temptations of the bright lights and cheap thrills. Luckily for the uninitiated into this wonderland, Bob Oedy (The Grim) provides an informative field guide on these ins and outs of a punk-rock filled weekend.
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Peter Bywaters of Peter and the Test Tube Babies Photo: Lindsay Beaumont
Anti-Nowhere League’s Animal. Photo: sqerl
Keith “Monkey” Warren of The Adicts. Photo: sqerl
Traveling to Las Vegas while nursing the effects of a broken heart, I am all too aware that the romantic appeal of this colorful hellhole is a bit lost on me. This place quite literally represents the euphoria of broken dreams. Even the bright lights can’t eclipse the desperate smiling faces that fail to shine through the scum and filth of the streets. I’ve always loved punk, as it seemed to provide a moral backbone to rock n’ roll, giving it a philosophy filled with romantic notions while critiquing the very fabrics of the society it resides in. Though, I confess that the spirit of this musically led agitation seems to overcasted by the overwhelming hedonistic atmosphere that only Las Vegas can contain. This is, no doubt, extenuated by the fact that one can experience a sense of freedom by opening up a beer and drinking in the streets with nobody really giving a shit. The feeling of irony regarding this whiskey-fueled rebellion is not lost on me, however, as the first thing I do after checking into the hotel is running off in search some Newcastle Brown Ales…
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