Images: Teenage Bottlerocket, Red City Radio, Playboy Manbaby May 29, 2016 at Backstage Bar and Billiards

If there’s one thing I learned watching Descendents close out Sunday’s PRB festival proper, it’s that exhaustion is nothing a cup of coffee can’t fix. So after downing enough caffeine to put Bill Stevenson to shame, I made my way from the blacktop to the Backstage Bar for a club show.

Teenage Bottlerocket was my late-night headliners of choice, coming out to a room humid from a long day’s sweat. “Fuck yeah Punk Rock Bowling!” screamed co-frontman Ray Carlisle through an ear to ear grin as his band launched into “Skate or Die.” Ramones-influenced pop punk favorites like “Bigger Than Kiss,” “Blood Bath At Burger King” and “Nothing Else Matters” helped the audience catch our second wind, fans dancing and singing as the band members leapt across the small stage like highly caffeinated gymnasts. Teenage Bottlerocket has had a rough year, and it felt good to see that they’re still their endearingly goofy selves live.

Openers Red City Radio was my PRB 2015 highlights thanks to a rousing unofficial club show, so I was stoked to see them make it onto the festival proper.  Even more so, I was thrilled to see so many people singing their lungs out to songs like “Electricity,” “Two Notes Shy of An Octave” and “Two For Flinching,” the latter’s “time is irrelevant to me” lyric proving to be an anthem for those of us choosing to skip sleep. The highlight of their set, and possibly the entire weekend, was closer “Show Me on the Doll Where the Music Touched You,” Garret Dale’s crooning voice drowned out by fans locked arm in arm shouting “I am a fucking juggernaut!”

While watching the Descendents meant I missed openers Light Speed Go (I’m sure they totally understand. It’s the Descendents, after all), I did make it just in time to watch Playboy Manbaby… stand on stage for 20 minutes (technical difficulties, what are you going to do?). When the set finally started I found myself appreciating the band’s wild energy, particularly trumpet player David Cosme. The guy thrashed about the stage like a beautifully weird combination of Steven Q Urkel and Marty McFly, proving that what the world needs is less Trump, more trumpet.

-Steven Matview

Photos by Aaron Mattern |

About the author  ⁄ Steven Matview

comics, music, coffee. @Timorous_Me

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