The Punk Rock Museum Turned One, and Had a Big Ass Party to Celebrate

LAS VEGAS, NV - Sunday, March 31st, 2024 was a very special day for the Las Vegas punk community as the Punk Rock Museum celebrated its One-Year Anniversary (officially, April 1st) with a big punk rock show on Easter Sunday.

The concert was headlined by the SoCal goofball punk band The Vandals with support from Get Dead, The Last Gang, and a trio of Vegas-based bands in Soldiers of Destruction, Sakura and Suburban Resistance.

The show was sold out, and was an all-day experience akin to a mini-festival with a food truck, beer vendor and merch suppliers in the parking lot of the Punk Rock Museum.

The day kicked off with Suburban Resistance entertaining the crowd with their brand of skate punk tunes that make a great fit for the all ages demographic that showed up to the show.

For those who are unaware, Suburban Resistance features Adam "Bomb" Segal formerly of the 80's punk band The Faction on lead guitar, and they have been a Vegas staple of punk shows at such places like the Double Down Saloon and The Dive Bar over the years.

Next up was rising hardcore punk band Sakura, another local Vegas band. The band is a younger band with a decent following in the all ages crowd. If you like your punk music loud and angry, then I definitely think you will enjoy some Sakura.

Then came Soldiers of Destruction who are also based in Las Vegas, but lead singer Morat started the band back in the UK in the early '80s only to disband, and revive the band with a new talent pool around him. 

Their set was the first point of the day where fans started to really get into the mosh pit and get it going a bit even getting museum activist Stephan "Bax" Baxter involved in the action (the one with the platinum blonde hair).

I spoke with drummer John Feeney after their set who told me an anecdote about how he joined the band seemingly by a random interaction involving the buying and selling of some musical equipment, and long story short, within a couple of months, he was in the band that goes to show that in Vegas, just being in the right place at the right time can lead to some cool opportunities.

At this point in the day, I actually had spent some time in the Jam Room and perusing the hallways of the Museum, and even got a chance to speak to Chris Petersen who is the brother of the late punk rock photographer Naomi Petersen who has a display in the Punk Rock Museum as part of a celebration of women photographers in punk.

He showed me the photos and told me stories of how Naomi worked for SST Records in L.A. back in the 80's and 90's and took photos of bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and even had photos of Dave Grohl playing drums for a band called Scream. It was a great moment to speak to him about the life and times of his sister.

He told me that he didn't really know much about the scene or what she did, but when she passed away with liver disease about 20 years ago, he was left with a ton of photos, diaries and other keepsakes that he started cataloguing and got to see what she had seen for so many years.

SoCal punk band The Last Gang came in after a bit of an intermission and equipment change to kick off the second half of the party, and they rocked out with many of the female members of the crowd singing every word right along with lead singer Brenna Red.

Next up was Get Dead which is one of the most entertaining live punk bands I have ever seen, and they have a very dedicated following across the U.S. especially in California and the Bay Area where the band originates.

Singer Sam King has a way of simultaneously enjoying the set, being pissed off about the subject matter of the songs (which in turn inspires emotional sing-alongs), nagging the audience for more participation, and joking around that allows for a full range of good times and engages a crowd in various ways.

I can't even accurately describe how good they are, because my description sounds like I am critiquing the band when I am just trying to point out the various techniques that King and the band use to create an all-around great time for the audience.

The last band of the night was none other than the wacky Orange County based band The Vandals who came out and joked their way through a great set.

Singer Dave Quackenbush taunted Unwritten Law a few times through the set while guitarist Warren Fitzgerald claimed to be exhausted from being old...and yet still had more energy than most punk rock artists 30 years younger.

Fitzgerald even ended the set by singing "I Have A Date" while Quackenbush begrudgingly played guitar, and at the end of the song, Fitzgerald jumped off of the drum kit which was on a riser onto the flat stage which if he was too old to be a punk, he may have needed assistance getting up. Not Fitzgerald though. He got up like a champ.

There's nothing like a great day of music and memories to make the world right, and that's what this concert and the Museum were able to bring to Las Vegas on Easter Sunday. 

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