Recent Fat Wreck signees (and Stripped Down Session alumnus) The Bombpops made their way through Vegas this past Friday, celebrating the release of their long-awaited debut full length Fear of Missing Out. The weather was frosty cold but as Brock Frabbiele (frontman of opening band Go Bold) pointed out, it was fitting weather for a band named after ice cream.
The crowd, a mix of diehard skatepunk fans and wayward hip hop heads who wandered out back from the Beauty Bar’s inside DJ party, were bundled up tight to watch the band blast through a set that included “Can O’ Worms,” “Stuck on Repeat” and “Open Ended.” The band encouraged the crowd to start a circle pit right as the toilets in neighboring Don’t Tell Mama overflowed into the Beauty bar’s back area, leaving fans slipping and sliding in a scene that, now that I think of it, might just be the punkest thing ever.
The highlight of their set was “Be Sweet,” a bouncy, pop punk track that kicks off with vocals by co-frontwoman Jen Razavi and was co-written by Teenage Bottlerocket drummer Brandon Carlisle shortly before he passed away in late 2015. The band, which includes co-frontwoman Poli van Dam, bassist Neil Wayne and drummer Josh Lewis, took a break from crude jokes and silliness to tell a fittingly sweet story about the last time the two bands shared the Beauty Bar stage, when the bands had a quick fight but an even quicker make up session.
The Bombpops hail from San Diego, as did the two touring openers – Caskitt and Western Settings. This was my first time seeing WS with new guitarist Thomas House and they sounded as tight as ever. The band’s heavy touring schedule and knack for writing catchy, hook-laden punk resulted in a small chorus of fans up front singing along to songs like “Old Pain,” Get It, Got It” and “Kicking and Screaming” (readers this site know those fans by another name – Rayner).
Caskitt, lead by drummer/vocalist Matt Caskitt, was the biggest surprise of the night for me. I had heard good things but seeing them live quickly won me over as a fan. Their sound combines the best of late-period Propagandhi and early Rise Against – fast, catchy music with excellent guitar work, raspy vocals and socially conscious lyrics, most apparent on “Niemöller’s Regret.”
Go Bold represented the Vegas scene, kicking things off with a rolicking performance. Now a four piece thanks to the addition of Ian Stewart (of Lawn Mower Death Riders) on second guitar, the band sounds fuller and played tighter than ever. The solid backing band gives more freedom to allow frontman Brock Frabbiele’s natural charisma to shine between playing old favorites like “Rock Bottom” and “Seize the Carp.”
Photos by Aaron Mattern | https://www.flickr.com/photos/akmofoto/