In its first year, NorCal’s newest punk rock party the Bash seemed impressively packed. Last weekend’s upstart festival at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds created a vibe that was not unlike late-’90s Warped Tour, when it actually had punk bands whose legacy could draw crowds across generations of fans.
There was legacy to spare in this line-up, for sure. Headliner Rancid turned the clock back to the days when “Time Bomb” and “Ruby Soho” were fresh additions to the radio playlists. But more importantly, they got back to why ’90s punk continues to resonate. When frontman Tim Armstrong first took the stage, by himself, he walked up to the edge and sang the words of set opener “Radio”— “When I got the music, I got a place to go.” I’ve always felt those lyrics described my relationship with punk rock, and I’m sure I’m not alone. He was then joined by the rest of the band, which blasted through old favorites from …And Out Came the Wolves and Let’s Go, as well as the band’s most recent album, 2017’s Trouble Maker. Along the way, the local legends gave a shout out to pretty much every city in the Bay Area, including Santa Cruz.
Hermosa Beach legends Pennywise have always been a crowd favorite, and they did not disappoint. Frontman Jim Lindberg is a relatable figure that reminds us to question authority and not to care what others think. Middle fingers were waving, pits were raging, and there was even a brief course in punk history when Lindberg guided the band through short snippets of songs by Descendents, Minor Threat and Dead Kennedys, plus a full version of Circle Jerks’ “Wild in the Streets.”
Suicidal Tendencies got the crowd moving with songs like “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” “Subliminal” and “Institutionalized.” New members Ben Weinman (ex-Dillinger Escape Plan) and Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer) gave the band’s classic songs a brand new dimension. O.G. front man Mike Muir never lacked for something to say.
L7 and Sharp Shock opened the show while early arrivers sampled a large selection of craft beers. Here’s hoping the Bash returns, so area punkers know we have a place to go.