PREVIEW: Punk Rock Holiday 1.8

author PP date 01/08/18

Picturesque scenery of mountainous terrain, Mediterranean vegetation, and turquoise-watered rivers ripe for swimming have earned Punk Rock Holiday the reputation of being the most beautiful festival in Europe, if not the world. Word has reached us long ago about the natural beauty of the festival site, and in recent years the lineup has likewise impressed the Groezrock audiences with a mouth-watering group of punk/hardcore staples big and small. As such, it was only about time Rockfreaks.net would send a contingent to the Slovenian festival to report back on what sort of festival we're dealing with here. Tune back in about two weeks' time for our full feature on the festivities to understand what it was like from a music enthusiast's perspective.

But if you're one of the 5,000 people who scored a ticket on the opening day of ticket sales before they sold out in August 2017, then this article is a must-read as we outline the essential must-see acts at the festival, and the reasoning behind each one.

1. Bad Religion playing "Suffer"

You shouldn't miss Bad Religion playing at any festival, but this performance ought to be special. The band is playing "Suffer" (1988) in full, which just happens to be the grandfather of all modern melodic punk rock from NOFX to The Offspring to The Menzingers. Punk as a genre can often be divided into two wider eras: pre- and post-"Suffer". That's how revolutionary this album was for punk rock as a genre, and why thirty years later Bad Religion are still including three to four songs off this record at every setlist. However, you'll never have heard all of the songs at the same show, especially not in the same order they were originally recorded. This has all the ingredients to be an unforgettable classic.

2. Lagwagon playing "Let's Talk About Feelings"

Is "Let's Talk About Feelings" from 1998 the best Lagwagon album? Probably not ("Trashed" or "Hoss" rank higher, perhaps even "Resolve"), but it is a great album, and full-album sets are always among the most special shows because you get to hear the records live exactly as you remember your first time checking out the album. Lagwagon hasn't been on the European festival circuit for a while, but their live show tends to be full of jokes, hilarious banter, and fantastic songs kind of like NOFX on their good days, so this one should be a banger.

3. Voodoo Glow Skulls

If you always hated ska punk, Voodoo Glow Skulls is the band that'll have you eating your words simply because you've guaranteed never heard the genre played like this. Sure, the likes of Streetlight Manifesto, Random Hand, and Streetlight Manifesto have experimented with the darker and more progressive vibes in the genre, but none of them are nearly as hardcore-rooted and unique as Voodoo Glow Skulls. Plus, they rarely play European shows, so it's a unique chance to catch the 'Band Geek Mafia' reign chaos live, this time with a brand new vocalist (Efrem Schulz of Death By Stereo fame has taken over from Frank Casillas).

4. Adhesive

Nobody makes melodicore / skate punk better than the Swedes, save for maybe No Use For A Name. And although Satanic Surfers and No Fun At All are the poster-boys of Sweden at this festival, it's the criminally underrated, and recently reunited (for a final tour, all profits go to charity) Adhesive who will blow you away on first listen.Classic stop/start riffs, Millencolin style wide-open vocals and relentless tempo combined with infectious melodies ensure a skate punk experience as close to perfection as you remember it from the golden late 90s Epi-fat era.

5. The Menzingers

It's a surprise The Menzingers aren't headlining festivals at this point, given the wealth of brilliant sing-along material they've released over the years. Though they've lost some of their edge since "On The Impossible Past", their new records are still great and the band are notoriously energetic live. Plus those sing alongs can't be beaten by any other early evening band at the festival, guaranteed.

6. The Lawrence Arms

Arguably the biggest Midwestern punk name aside from Hot Water Music, the Chicago group has written some of the most memorable subtle albums in punk rock (2002's "Apathy And Exhaustion" among them), and countered those with rowdy, chaotic material like "Oh! Calcutta!". If they get the sound right, this could be one of the best shows at this year's festival.

7. Terror

Prepare to crawl on someone's head on the command of Scott Vogel, who presides over what is arguably the greatest hardcore show on earth when he's in the mood. If you are standing still two songs into a Terror set, you're doing it wrong. This guy won't let you stand still. MOVE IT! FEEL IT! You know the drill.

8. Comeback Kid

"G.M. Vincent And I" is one of the greatest melodic hardcore songs written to date. "Symptom + Cures" is a classic within the genre. The band's signature style, high-energy melodic hardcore set is among the best hardcore experiences on the planet. Enough hardcore classics to fill two headlining sets will guarantee a brilliant show as usual, which has counted among the top 3 performances at all European festivals where I have seen them play.

9. No Fun At All

Much like Adhesive, No Fun At All belong to the small, elite group of skate punk bands that consists of No Use For A Name and Millencolin among a select few others. Those who get tight guitars, infectious melodies, and great clean vocals just right in the beloved late 90s punk style. Since their reunion, they have delivered one amazing performance after another. Do not miss this one.

10. Authority Zero

Authority Zero play Rise Against better than Rise Against do these days. Jokes aside, their combination of ska/reggae and melodic hardcore/punk has earned the Americans a boatload of fans over the years, and their high-energy shows will justify the late evening slot that many have questioned on Punk Rock Holiday's Facebook posts.

11. Nothington

The farewell tour of the Midwestern punk champions can't be missed. Roared vocals Hot Water Music Style, guitars purposefully rough-around-the-edges, and an overall unpolished, raw punk expressions makes Nothington one of the favorites for the underground scene.

WILD CARDS

About a month ago I stumbled by Dog Eat Dog at a festival. It sounded like rap metal meets ska meets punk meets hardcore: a giant party it was. The Living End hasn't been playing for a while, but I once saw them shred guitars with beer bottles on their fingers at West Coast Riot if I recall right. Mad Caddies will be a dance-off, and H2O always has potential to be the best show at any festival if the audience gets into it. The Vandals tend to be hilarious as well. Plenty more gems to be discovered at the becah stage like Bates Motel, The Murderburgers, or Charlie Bit My Finger.

LIKELY DISAPPOINTMENTS

I've seen Satanic Surfers a great many times now and they've just never been great. It could change now that Rodrigo Alfaro is on drums again instead of hogging the mic in a stand-still position all set long, but I doubt it. Beatsteaks is a band only Germans like in all honesty, and the last time I saw This Is A Standoff at Groezrock, their technical punk flew miles above the attention of the bored audience. I don't see The Lillingtons being any good either given they're just a worse version of Teenage Bottlerocket, but let's see.

And don't forget - tune back about a week after the festival for a full report!

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