Punk in Drublic – Music, Mohawks and Mosh Pits (4 stars)
By Matthew Martino
When you think of punk rock, you tend to conjure images of spikey haired, leather clad misfits sporting a beer in one hand as their favorite band spouts out politically fierce lyrics and power chords. And you would be right as the tradition continues at the Punk in Drublic music and beer festival. This event delivers all of that and more. Punks not dead. It’s maturing into that adult who loves craft beer and still slam dances when engulfed by the crowds of rowdy concert goers.
Fat Mike Presents the Punk in Drublic festival combines two great tastes that go great together. Beer and punk music are fuels that the unwashed masses utilize to have a good time. Fat Mike is the front man for the band NOFX – a band that has had a long and illustrious 30 year career in punk. It is no wonder he put together a festival named for his bands most well know album – Punk in Drublic. From there it must have been a no brainer to add a few more infamous punk bands and beer and make it a day long celebration of his life’s work.
Along with NOFX was the punk rockers Bad Religion. Both bands served as a double headed since they have very large fan basses. Rounding out the bill of bands were Bad Cop / Bad Cop, The Interrupters and The Mad Caddies. With such a lineup, an entire days worth of entertainment is provided.
So what was the festival like? Wet, unfortunately. That’s the dice that gets rolled at any out door festival. The rain varied from light drizzle to moderate down pour. This however did not stop the fans from coming out in the thousands. Clearly, if you are enthusiastic about the music, a little rain would not stop you. The area around the stage was packed shoulder to should while a thick crowd occupied the rest of the park.
The biggest let down was the food. I waiting in a one line only to find out they were out of food. So I went to another and the same thing happened. Luckily, once we were in the VIP area, we could ask when more food was coming and eventually got some grub. Now, I will admit, other food lines existed, but boy were they long. Some people claiming to wait almost an hour for a hamburger. Better food service might help knock this festival up a notch. After all, you need to wash down that beer with some food.
As for the beer, they can boast having one of the truly great craft beers on hand from the Stone Brewing Company as well as many others. Stone had it’s signature IPA there as well as a special edition Punk in Drublic Beer just for the festival. Stone IPA is well regarded as one of the best IPAs in the country due to it’s sweet and flavorful hoppiness. Yet for those who might want a more mild, yet still tasty cousin, the Punk in Drublic Beer delivered. It still have a great floral bouquet and taste while not having too much of that IPA after taste the beer is famous for. Kudos for delivering something for a multitude of taste buds.
Then there was the music itself, the main draw of the festival. If you haven’t been to a punk show, there are two ways to take them in. The first is to stand in the back and do some people watching. This is a show unto itself as you can see many people out in their best gear sporting ripped jeans, leather pants and jackets with dozens of patches of their favorite bands adorning every surface. Plenty of Mohawk, piercing and tattoos finish the look.
Or you can do what I did which was jump into the thickness of the crowd and enjoy the chaos. All around are fans belting out the lyrics of their favorite songs they memorized decades ago. People are jumping, dancing and sloshing about. Occasionally a crowd surfer will come right over your head. And of course, a punk show is not a true punk show without some mosh pits. Although mostly close to the stage, one could spontaneously erupt almost anywhere.
It was a true punk experience for any fan of these bands. With any luck, the festival will return again to Boston, bigger and better. And maybe with shorter food lines. The fans will return if they keep the music loud and the beer taps flowing. Two more dates of this tour are coming up.