It was an overcast morning this past Sunday when Fat Mike’s Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival rolled through Philly. Channeling my inner optimist, I did not grab my umbrella when I left the house, meaning that I was standing in line for 45 minutes in the pouring rain waiting for the gates to open. What can I say? I’m an idiot.
Once inside, I made my way over to the craft beer area where a crapload of beer tents were set up. As you entered the area, you were given a small plastic glass in order to get your complimentary tastings. The amount of breweries represented was a touch overwhelming and my liver cried. Though I didn’t try a lot (hey, I had to shoot the bands later and that is impossible if I passed out under a table), the few I did taste were fantastic, mainly the Cherry Belgian Tripel from Spellbound based in Mt. Holly, NJ.
The rain had stopped just a few minutes before the first band stepped on stage. The Last Gang, a three-piece hailing from Southern California, started off the music portion of the fest. Apparently I live under a rock, because I had never heard them before. But from the first note until the last, I was hooked. The growly vocals and the upbeat tunes had me bouncing through their set. Any band that Canada won’t let in is a band that I can get behind. (Apparently they were refused entry at some point and wrote a song about it, naturally.)
Mad Caddies were up next and as per usual, they had the crowd dancing. They played older songs like “Monkeys,” new such as their cover of Green Day’s “She,” and everything in between.
Third up was The Interrupters who sounded fantastic. Each show of their’s is better than the last. They played their new song “Kerosene” which is absolute fire! Aimee brings such joy and energy to the stage with her at every show that you can’t help but be caught up in the moment and the music. If I could shrink her down and carry her in my pocket with me, I would. When they did their cover of “Sound System,” wet sand started flying everywhere as everyone started dancing, pitting, and skankin’. Heck, pretty much every security guard behind the barricade was bouncing along and having a blast.
Bad Religion was next. They will always and forever have first place in my heart since they were the band that finally got me away from hair metal and into Punk way back in the early 90s. They kicked off their 70 minute set with “Recipe for Hate,” “Generator,” “Fuck You,” and “Atomic Garden” before they played Suffer in its entirety. FUCK YES! At this point, the wind is kicking up off the river. After Suffer, it was a best-of selection before they closed out with “American Jesus” and “Fuck Armageddon.”
Seeing as how this festival is Fat Mike’s brain-child, of course NOFX closed out the night. They started off with “60%” and I learned that: 1) Fat Mike looks much better in a dress than I do and 2) he’s got a great set of calves. I left after about the seventh song, but those seven songs were banging! There is a photo of the entire set list in the gallery below, so take a peep.
So, during the Bad Religion set, I was shivering uncontrollably because my clothes were still damp from the earlier rain and I was absolutely freezing. The dude standing next to me takes off his fleece from around his waist and drops his jacket over my shoulders. Turns out he was in the Coast Guard and I reminded him of people he pulled from the water who were going hypothermic. Greaaaaaaat. I only mention this because it just goes to show that punk people are the best people, especially punk people in Philly who wind up being from the same town as you in California. (Shout out to Dennis—I’ll bring your jacket back on Thursday—and everyone from San Pedro!)
Throughout the day people were just full of smiles and there was a sense of camaraderie, from waiting in line in the downpour, to waiting again at the gate because the ticket scanners were on the fritz, to asking others what they were drinking and “oh, that sounds great! I’ll have to try that next!” It could have been a recipe for tempers to flare, but it didn’t work out that way. The fans were there to have a good time, drink beer, and listen to music. And they did that in spades.
Punk In Drublic, though wet, was an absolute blast and I would happily go again.
There are only two dates left on this tour: May 19th in Brockton, MA and May 20th in Pittsburgh, PA. If you are a fan of camping, Camp Punk In Drublic will be happening June 1st through 3rd at Legend Valley in Thorneville, OH.