Day 1 - Friday, May 23, 2004
After a rather uneventful plane ride from Milwaukee, I landed in Las Vegas. Took the tram for a quick ride to baggage claim, and met up with Earthdog. Before you knew it, we were out the door, into a taxi, and on our way to the Golden Nugget. Check-in was pretty quick. Gettin’ in our room not so quick. Apparently, if a green and red light comes on when you slide the card in, you are supposed to turn the handle up instead of down to get in the door. Who the fuck made that up?
Off to Claim Jumpers within the hotel for some dinner - chopped steak smothered in mushrooms, peppers, onions, and gravy with a side of green beans for me. Oh, and two margaritas on the rocks with no salt (high blood pressure ;) ). After a brief walk, we spotted Jeff Pezzati, the lead singer of Naked Raygun, playing black jack. I think he scared the rest of the table away as it was only him and some women at the other side and end of the table.
The venue was a few blocks down the street - Las Vegas Country Saloon. I had been there before. Nice, small hall. Beers were only of the 24oz variety and were $10.75-$12.00 each. Holy shit! Punk Rock Bowling hit it big time. Time for the venues to rake in some cash. I did have quite a few Newcastle’s regardless of the price. After all, I was at PRB!
We were one of the first in the venue, and were able to grab a table on the left side of the stage. I was practicing trying to save the feet from standing no more than I had to this weekend. You’ll hear later that it did not work out as well as planned. My buddy, Ben, from Vegas showed up and rocked out with us for the first of four days and nights. It was good to see him again.
Up first from Germany were Church of Confidence. I enjoyed their set, and thought they probably should have played after the next band. They played a cover of The Germs / Zero Boys’ “Civilization’s Dying”, and closed the set out with a song about their hometown, “(Whatever Happened To) West Berlin”.
Next up was a young band, Radkey. The guitar player / singer had deep vocals ala Danzig. The bass player had a tall affro and a cheesy mustache ala Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott. They had a lot of energy, but I don’t recall much originality or musicianship. I did run into a guy with good musicianship later that nite - lead guitar player for Chicago’s My Big Beautiful. I think it was around this time I went to chat a little with Riot Mike of Riot Fest fame. I was glad to hear from him that Pierre Kezdy of Naked Raygun was doing fine.
Earthdog was pumped to see his 2nd bass player idol, CJ Ramone (of course, Dee Dee is his #1 idol). Joining CJ on guitar was Steve Soto of Agent Orange and Adolescents fame. I actually enjoyed the set mixed with original songs and Ramones hits. CJ spoke about his song “Three Angels” which was written about our 3 long lost pals - Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee. He also played “I Want to Be Your Boyfriend” a song he said the Ramones were not allowed to play while he was in the band due to the Johnny stealing Joey’s girlfriend debacle that nearly tore up the band. Here are the songs that I remember CJ playing.
Strength to Endure
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Judy Is a Punk
What We Gonna Do Now?
I saw Pezzati sitting on the side of the stage before Naked Raygun came out. I went over to remind him that the mic had a chord unlike the one at Riot Fest one year when some prima donna lead singer made them remove the wireless mic and replace it with a chord. Inside joke between me and him although I’m not sure he remembers me.
It seems like it has been several years since I have seen them play. Probably the Thanksgiving Eve show at the Metro a few years back. Big Red of The Methadones was on bass again for Pierre. I’m not sure if this is permanent or not. I would be OK if it was because he does a great job thunking the strings. Raygun played songs from the beginning of their career, “Hot Atomics”, through their most recent singles from a few years ago, “Mein Iron Maiden”. I’m glad they played “Wonder Beer”. The highlight of the night was when CJ Ramone joined them on stage to sing vocals to the band playing “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg”. Unfuckingbelievable!!! Here are the songs I remember being played that night, but not in order of appearance.
I Don’t Know
Home of the Brave
Bonzo Goes to Bitburg with CJ Ramone
Mein Iron Maiden
Just for Me
Of course, I was hungry at 2:30am after a night of drinking beer, so I hit Claim Jumper again for a club sandwich before heading to the room to hit the pillow. A great night was had by all!! The only downside was Naked Raygun did not have any fat guy size XXL t-shirts so no merch for me that night. I made up for it later though.
Here is Earthdog's side of the story.
DAY 1: THE ARRIVAL The countdown was over! After months of planning and anticipation, I would finally be going to my first PRB Festival. Joining me on this adventure was Lewdd, a grizzled festival veteran who had already attended this event twice. This certainly would help later on as we bounced from venue to venue like a worn out pinball. But let’s get right to the action. Vegas is a long way from my home base of Boston, so I was mentally prepared for the long flights ahead. Luckily there were no crying babies behind me so I managed to get some shut-eye. That is until the flight attendant said “is there a doctor in the house?” Apparently a female passenger on the plane was having some trouble. Luckily there was a doctor-right in my row! He was able to assist her and she was able to get to her seat. I’m glad she was OK but the only thought going through my mind was “if this plane has to land in Colorado due to a medical emergency-I will go postal!” Just kidding of course. Eventually I got to the Vegas airport a bit before my concert pal Lewdd did. So I got to watch all the cheesy promo clips of shows happening this Memorial Day weekend at other venues. Guns N Roses, Meatloaf, and Celine Dion. The stars were truly aligned by the gods today as I would not be attending shows by any of these jive-ass artists. Lewdd and I met at the baggage claim and then it was off to the Golden Nugget! We checked in, got a quick bite at the in-house restaurant, and then it was off to the first show. The Country Saloon was our club pick for the night. We also met up with Ben, another fellow music fan who is from the area and would hang with us throughout the weekend. First up was Church of Confidence. I had not heard of these guys before but eventually they won me over. A bit of 70’s style punk with some 80’s flash was the order of the day. Next came Radkey. A bunch of young dudes who kicked up some dust on stage. At times, it sounded a bit too much like the Misfits. And the bassist/singer looked a helluva lot like Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy. In fact, someone called out for “The Boys are Back in Town” during a lull in the music. Lewdd thought someone wanted to hear a Bus Boys cover! But soon enough, CJ Ramone came onstage. He had a new band from the last time I saw him. I didn’t catch everyone’s name (I was too busy holding a beer versus a notepad), but the drummer was from D Generation and one of the guitarist’s was Steve Soto (Adolescents). CJ did a nice mix of stuff from his recent record-Reconquista and Ramones classics. “Strength to Endure” was a highlight. Great set by this bass playing legend-look for a possible new release later this summer. Finally, the band I had not seen 2010 hit the stage. Naked Raygun! They crushed it, playing all the hits. They even brought CJ back on stage to sing ‘Bonzo Goes to Bitburg!” I picked up a shirt by Raygun on the way out. A perfect nightcap to my first night in Vegas.