• Tue. May 28th, 2024

The Las Vegas Strip was shining a little brighter tonight. Not only did we have UFC 300 taking over T-Mobile Arena, but down the road at The Virgin was the biggest Punk Rock spectacle the city could ask for before Punk Rock Bowling, and if I told you the same bands were here just a week before I bet you’d call it an ol’ fashion Las Vegas bluff, but Bad Religion and Social Distortion ain’t the kind of legends that would pull our legs, now are they?

You can’t ask for a more diverse spectrum of Punk Rock in one place. The methodical lyrics of Greg Graffin with rest of the boys in Bad Religion singing along side him like an angelic church choir can bring out anyone from Heavy Metal Heads to Political Scientists to the crowd. Then you have Mike Ness and the guys in Social Distortion, which if you were alive any time from 1980 to 2000, you can recite 3 or 4 of their anthems with no hesitation, and were no doubt here tonight to see them play 1988’s Mommy’s Little Monster on its 40th anniversary.

Lovecrimes

Before church starts we had Lovecrimes set the stage for the night. With a look that would cater to the Social D crowd very well, their music kept up with the image and left a good impression with everyone.

They have a classic Rock and Roll sound that dips in to the punkyness like Social D does, and the singer is not far off from Mike Ness’s calm, deep voice when he goes through tracks like “Sabotage” that also shows off his guitar chops in the leads. They’re a great addition to the tour, especially with Social D headlining.

Bad Religion

It’s time again for the sermon that we get once, sometimes twice a year in this City of Sin from the great Bad Religion. Each set that has the cross buster draped behind the stage is another chance for us to sing along to classic anthems of our generation, and with our offerings of sweat, spilled alcohol, and shoving in the pit, we can summon some of the best times of our lives.

Getting straight to it with “Infected” had everyone singing along, then into the anthem title track for No Control opened the crowd up immediately, and it never seemed to stop from there. Middle fingers went high in the air for the newest constant in a Bad Religion setlist with “Fuck You”, then back into the classic title tracks from Recipe For Hate, Suffer, and Stranger Than Fiction” to keep the pace up.

It’s a miracle that Jay’s cowboy hat stayed on for the entire show, and another impressive part of Bad Religions sets is Jaimie Miller’s mic setup around his drums that he can swivel around for access in the smoothest way for the songs he gives harmonic input on. Honorable mention to the legends Brian Baker and Mike Dimkich that can continue to play these chords that hit like no other.

On album and on stage, Bad Religion continues to prove their legend status with sets like these.

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Social Distortion

If you tell some people that it’s been 40 years since Social Distortion’s Mommy’s Little Monster was released, you may catch a fist to the face out of pure confusion and anger. For what is a lifetime for some people, Mike Ness has sung his heart out to any generation that’ll listen, and those who do are paid back with a heartache and torment from the message he delivers, but can’t help but smile cheek to cheek when he staggers out on stage and strums the chords to the songs of life and struggle.

My only issue with the set is the absence of some of the songs off the album they were honoring for the night, and also doing things like not starting off “The Creeps”, and somehow putting that in right in front of “Hour of Darkness”. I would have preferred a front to back treatment but I’m sure Mike and the boys have a method to their madness. You can’t be mad when they squeeze in fan favorites “Reach for the Sky” and “Ring of Fire” to close things out.

These two behemoths haven’t done a North American tour before, but after this it’ll be hard to top the amount of legendary songs an act can take from coast to coast. Be sure to check out them out in a city near you all the way through October

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Live photos by Courtney Ware for ZrockR Magazine 2024 – All Rights Reserved.

By Vinnie Corcoran

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Vinnie has been around a variety of music his entire life. Early on he would love listening to show tunes from The Rat Pack with his grandpa and dancing around with his mom to her favorite disco hits from the 70's, but his life would change in 1999 when he borrowed a stack of cd's from his dad that included Led Zeppelin's II, Metallica's Ride the Lightning and Black Album, and Sublime's Greatest Hits. Armed with that music base and a newly revolutionized internet connection, Vinnie ventured in to the vast world of rock and roll and never looked back. In his teenage years he discovered the revolution of punk rock and still has not let it go, annually attending the Punk Rock Bowling festival and taking every chance he can to check out local and national acts at hole–in–the–wall venues during the week. Look for him near the pit or by the bar at your next show.

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