Punk In Drublic Malmö 2022

author PP date 13/06/22

Ah, the memories from one-day punk rock festivals in Sweden are oh so fond. For years, West Coast Riot reigned as the single most important event in the genre within the Nordics. Malmö Festival has also once toyed with an all-day punk rock lineup some years back. And now, multiple corona-related postponements and lineup changes later, Malmö is back on the punk rock map with Fat Mike's Punk In Drublic music and craft beer festival. It's a traveling circus that most of all resembles this generation's version of the original Warped Tour with stops all across Europe ranging from exclusive one-day events like this one to featured stages at festivals like Slam Dunk, for instance.

Photos by: Fernanda Uchôa

LINEUP

Missing from the above are Pennywise, Face To Face, Frank Turner, and Get Dead who were all a part of the lineup at one point before they were either dropped completely or replaced by other bands.

FESTIVAL AREA

Held at the beautiful park grounds behind Malmö Castle by a traditional windmill, we find ourselves on a large grass field with a few trees offering shade from the burning sun. It's a huge area; you could probably fit upwards of 20.000 people here if you tried, which would of course require a whole lot more other facilities. The toilets are way in the back and remained in great condition even towards the end of the night, but the same cannot be said for the beer garden area.

You see, Sweden has some ridiculous laws that prevent you from serving alcohol outside a designated zone, and since they didn't want to make the festival an over-18s-only event, it means your choices were either to watch the band up close or be stuck in a fenced-off area far from the stage and the crowds.

With mostly blue skies and 21 degrees on the thermometer, this, unfortunately, meant that for virtually the entirety of the festival, the beer garden population was at least double, if not triple the number of people in front of the stage, save for maybe NOFX in the end. Not exactly fun times had for neither the thirsty folks nor the bands who played in front of tiny crowds and desperately tried to attract people to come to watch the show (Ignite even tried with 10 minutes of free beer from the stage). One solution could be to extend the beer garden with a standing area all the way to in front of the stage on the right side, but alas, today it was more like 100 meters from the stage. Not exactly ideal conditions.

Despite the attendance being surprisingly low (my guess is around 1000-1500 people tops, but that is a very rough estimate), the bar queues were unbearable (especially to the craft beer offering) and the food stalls ran out of burgers already at dinnertime. Not that the food was particularly attractive either way: the chicken pasta was a microwave dish, the burgers looked like something leftover from McDonald's (the vegetarian one excepted), and everything felt rather overpriced. Inflation hits hard - 100 SEK for a 0.4L pale ale feels a bit excessive even with the favourable DKK exchange rate, as does 78 SEK for a 0.33L Heineken bottle.

On the positive side, plenty of seating is available in the beer garden, and with the weather being as good as it was, you could also sit or lay down anywhere on the large grass fields. If only we could've brought beers out there, but alas. The sound quality was brilliant throughout; every band sounded exactly as they should, which is a rarity at outdoor events like this one. The crowd was also a positive surprise: plenty of circle pits, colourful mohawks, spiked jackets and much more suggest people went all-in and had a great time in the process.

REVIEWS

Days N' Daze

Today's festivities are opened by Days N Daze, whose crusty, anarcho-folk punk has been a cult hit within the DIY punk scene for eight albums now. They start brandishing a contrabass, a trumpet, an acoustic guitar, and a washboard, but later on, a mandolin is introduced as well. "I'm not nearly as good at a mandolin as I'm with guitar, but I'm gonna give it a shot", their bearded vocalist Jesse proclaims. He's visibly smashed on stage - they haven't slept for 1.5 days (which explains how you can appear so drunk at 2 pm already), and as a result, the band's set looks and feels totally chaotic throughout. The songs sound unrehearsed with timings off most of the time, lyrics being forgotten or otherwise omitted, so if you were looking for a tight set, this is certainly not it. On the other hand, it sets the scene for some hilarious scenes throughout the day as Jesse's presence is felt on stage by many other unrelated bands, but more on that later.

Days N' Daze

But when the band hits it off correctly, they are absolutely fantastic. "Misanthropic Drunken Loner", for instance, draws a surprisingly large sing-along in the crowd, as does "Save A Life (Kill A Cop)" where Joey Steele joins on stage for authentic anarchist chants. The set culminates on a ten-minute rendition of "Self Destructive Anthem", where members from pretty much every band join in and improvise a short verse before Jesse barks back "Why do I do this, why, why do I do this to myself". We have El Hefe from NOFX, Jen from Bomb Pops, Ignite's new vocalist Eli Santana, and plenty of others giving a line or two about themselves "Hi my name is Jen and I sing in the Bombpops...", until it just gets ridiculous where the bus driver, and a random videographer, and other unrelated personnel are brought on for a verse "Hi my name is Toby and I drive the stupid bus", to which Jesse always chants back "Why do I do this, why do I do this to myself?" It's a festival-defining anthem that immediately puts everyone in a cheerful, smiling mood despite it not being 3 pm yet. Charming, despite slightly idiotic and extremely drunken throughout. [8]

The Bombpops

The Bombpops

I've always admired The Bombpops for their awesome punk rock attitude and style. Vocalist Jen has a charisma that's rare in pop punk these days, and unsurprisingly that's also what most of their set relies on. When she's not busy rocking out against the other members, she's bouncing in front of her mic bursting from energy, and singing catchy lines to "CA In July" or "Dear Beer". This much has held true to every Bombpops show I've seen to date, and unfortunately, so do the bad parts: their music is basic pop punk without enough consistency to carry through an entire set, and their demeanor is mostly static and stand-still save for a few moments like the ones I just mentioned. As such, their set feels monotonous and like nothing really happens. It says a lot when I jot down in my notes that I can't even remember what happened five minutes ago, while the band is still finishing their show. It's never bad, just never much better than merely decent. [6½]

Talco

Talco

Talco is a brand new acquaintance to me, which isn't that surprising when you factor in that they only sing in Italian throughout and banter in between songs in rather broken, yet cheerful English. It appears I am in the minority though. From the get-go, loads of people are dancing and circle pitting, which makes sense given how much of an upbeat party starter their brand of ska punk can be. Saxophones, trumpets, and playful melodies accompanied by great spirits on stage create an atmosphere comparable to watching a Balkan party fold out. "Let's make this the biggest circle pit in Punk In Drublic tour", they shout, and the crowd gladly obliges and the pit spreads out throughout the crowd. I gotta say: I didn't expect this many people to be singing along to catchy vocal hooks in Italian, but what can you say: Talco is just a fun party band, and their energy is infectious. [7½]

Ignite

Ignite has been watching several bands from the side of the stage, and their new singer Eli joined in for the earlier Days N' Daze improv sing-along session. They've made the same conclusion as other bands before them: there's gotta be a way to lure in the beer garden people to the stage instead. "BEER GARDEN! WE ARE GIVING FREE BEER FOR 10 MINUTES FROM THE FRONT OF THE STAGE. YOU HEARD ME - FREE BEER!", he shouts in vain, while the band is handing bottles of beer over to the crowd in (rightful) violation of the stupid Swedish laws. They make a few more stabs at giving shoutouts in that direction and requesting people to come closer throughout the set but to no avail.

Ignite

On stage, Eli almost immediately jumps down to the platform in front of the stage, spending time at the barrier to familiarize himself with the crowd. He even makes it to our side during "Embrace" to lead the circle pit action firsthand, not to even mention hanging from the stage pillars on both sides to take full advantage of the size of the stage.

Earlier, "Let It Burn" and "Bleeding" draw sing-alongs; it's impressive how similarly high-pitched delivery he sports compared to old singer Zoli whose style was thought by many to be inimitable. Despite his pipes and the solid energy on stage, it all comes down to the songs, and in this department, Ignite has always felt like a tier three band within punk rock. The songs blend together, and consequently, few highlights are memorable from the set. It's not bad, but again, not that great either, despite the "Sunday Bloody Sunday" cover. [6½]

Satanic Surfers

Satanic Surfers

Faster is not always better. Known for their blinding technical wizardry, Swedish skate punkers Satanic Surfers have a cult status within some circles. Their blazingly fast melodies are decent on record (if somewhat overrated), and drummer/vocalist Rodrigo Alfaro possesses some incredibly high-pitched pipes, but their problem has always been that they are so god damn boring in a live setting. Everyone in the band stands still as if they were glued to the floor, and with the vocals coming from behind the drum kit, it's not making the set appear any more energetic. That's still very much the case here at Punk In Drublic, where the band basically stood on stage for 40 minutes and played fast but without noticeable energy. It's quite a feat considering the breakneck speed nature of their songs - and considering they air some genre classics like "Puppet", "...And The Cheese Fell Down", and "Head Under Water" in the process. Imagine how good this set would be if they were doing scissor kick jumps, running across the stage, and a singer down by the barriers going crazy? Right? In its current format, Satanic Surfers still aren't particularly interesting live. [6½]

No Fun At All playing "Out Of Bounds"

Yep! It's still the "Out Of Bounds" tour, that much is clear from when the 1995 album's seminal artwork is revealed. Only this time, the band has been playing it enough so they've taken the liberty to adjust the order for their own purposes. It makes sense, they've been doing this for at least a year and a half at this point, and no matter how good the record is, seeing it multiple times in a row is enough for even the most hardened fan, let alone for the band playing it night in, night out. It also allows for vocalist Ingemar Jansson to personalize the album with some quirky commentary in between. For instance, at one point he cheekily lets us know that "now we will continue with a little more anonymous cut from the record, but it's also a little bit sugary and sweet at the same time", before the band launches into "Nothing Personal".

No Fun At All

Such commentary continues throughout the set, where small remarks like "This next one should work very well in the pit" introduce songs like "I Have Seen". It's a leitmotif throughout the concert: "This next one is the pit's best song!", he says before "Beat 'Em Down", and later, "This time you have to believe me, THIS is the best song for the pit" for "Catch Me Running Round". These types of comments ensure the set feels charming, up-close, and personal throughout, because otherwise what else is there than a constant sing-along to some of the best skate punk songs written in the genre. "Some Precious Moments" opened up a crazy circle pit, and "Don't Pass Me By" grabs the crowd's singing ability for its "I am what I am what I am what I am" parts, and "Out Of Bounds" draws a significant chant from the crowd.

At the same time, a song like "In A Moment" is always rock solid, as is "Master Celebrator" later on. With an array of hits and an energetic, swirling performance on stage coupled with the low-key charm of Ingemar Jansson, No Fun At All are as good as they always are, even when "Out Of Bounds" songs are mixed up in different order. [8]

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

How good can a cover band really be? Turns out very good, as Me First And The Gimme Gimmes demonstrate today. Their banner is a giant golden curtain, the stage features two large golden side banners on each side, and everyone in the band is wearing green leopard shirts. Spike Slawson's (Swingin' Utters) jacket features golden embroidery and golden party straps hanging from the microphone stand. He performs with overtly pompous arrogance that brings to mind Elvis Presley (in a satirical manner, of course), which makes his enunciations of words and slow phrasing hilarious throughout the set. The look is complete with giant square/star-studded sunglasses and over-exaggerated dance moves during classic pop songs converted into a punk rock format.

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

"We're about to ruthlessly plagiarize this next song by John Denver", he explains in a tongue-in-cheek style, before they launch in a crowd-favorite "Leaving On A Jet Plane". "This next one's a cover", he announces on multiple occasions, which is funny considering there isn't a single original Me First And The Gimme Gimmes song in existence as they are all covers. We hear songs like "Jolene", "Over The Rainbow", "Sweet Caroline", and many other pop/rock classics played at many times their original tempo and in an overconfident fashion. Plenty of hilarious banter adds entertainment between the songs by asking the crowd about the weirdest place they've consummated with another human being (had sex), which turns out to be the zoo and a therapist's office for the two people highlighted from the crowd. "This next one's a cover", he just about has time to announce, before Jesse from Days N' Daze continues his antics and stumbles totally wasted across the stage and damn near falls down the platform before attempting to crowd surf.

Later, we get a full introduction of all band members and their respective bands, which takes quite a long time but is still funny in the process. But despite how funny Me First And The Gimme Gimmes are in between songs, we're still just listening to punk covers of famous songs, so there's in reality a hard upper limit of just how good the overall experience is after an hour or so. [7½]

NOFX

It's the last day of the Punk In Drublic tour, which NOFX commemorates by having a team shot of some kind of booze in a circle behind the stage somewhere near the start time of their set. As we've learned over the years, just exactly when NOFX starts their set from the point we see Fat Mike, El Hefe, Smelly and Eric Melvin on stage is arbitrary: they wander back and forth until it's time to chat a little bit with the crowd long before they start their first song. First, they spot a guy with a giant pink mohawk and give him credit for having it stand up this late to the festival, and make fun of another mohawk whose hair-do fell apart already after Days N' Daze according to El Hefe. Then it's time to comment a little on Sweden: "What's wrong with this country - why can't you drink a beer and watch a concert at the same time", Fat Mike says, before giving credit to the boozers back at the beer garden: "Yeah I get it, you could see NOFX or drink beer and you chose beer.... we're NOFX, get ready for a big disappointment". Fun stuff as usual.

NOFX

Then it's time for music. A skate punk classic, "Dinosaurs Will Die" kicks things off, but already the next song is a deep cut: "Day To Daze" is from "S&M Airlines", an underrated and excellent album from 1989 that rarely gets airtime these days. Some more chatter later and it's "Bob"'s turn to turn Mölleplatsen into a community-style sing-along, which continues on our favorite pair of government songs, "Perfect Government" and "Murder The Government".

At this point you've gotta admit, the band sounds pretty good! Not just sound-wise, but Fat Mike isn't as trashed as he usually is, so his vocals are on point, as is his hilarious in-between song banter. And with plenty of classics like "The Brews" coming in, the set pretty much takes care of itself. We also get to finally hear "72 Hookers" live and its "ululululululu" non-politically correct parts, where Fat Mike had asked whether there were any Muslims in the crowd here and concluded this is the whitest crowd they've played in front of this tour. The usual borderline offensive stuff from the band as usual.

NOFX

"Idiots Are Taking Over" is then aired, a song which has an eerie symbolism to today's social media environment despite having been written almost two decades ago about the governments in the world. We get a hardcore cut - Eric Melvin sings "Six Years On Dope", which perhaps wouldn't have been my choice from "First Ditch Effort" but at least we get one track from the album. In general, the band plays a wide variety of material from albums throughout their career, but still, seems shy about playing the new material. This despite Fat Mike even commenting "See, our new stuff is actually pretty good when you listen to it".

Perhaps the best song of the night is "Lori Meyers", where Jen from The Bombpops does an awesome rendition of Kim Shattuck's parts... and then we meet Jesse from Days N Daze once again, who this time wants to inform Fat Mike that someone was assaulted by four dudes in the crowd. Not sure what that's all about but given how unseriously it was taken by the band, it's probably just Jesse being wasted out of his mind as he has been since at least 2 pm today during their own set. "On your own time Jesse", Fat Mike even chirps at him.

Later, Karina from The Dancehall Crashers, who is playing keyboards on this tour, joins in to sing "Les Champs-Élysées", before the band reveals an updated, giant yellow banner (which, ironically, still has NOFX in exactly the same size in the middle). "This is our new song, at least pretend you like it", Fat Mike smirks before "I Love You More Than I Hate Me" is introduced to the set.

NOFX

"Franco Un-American" gets one of the biggest sing-alongs tonight, before "Whoops, I OD'd" takes the set into a darker direction just before the encore. Here, the band continues with tight, aggressive skate punk in the form of "The Separation Of Church And Skate", before "Fuck The Kids II" misses an opportunity to shout at the beer garden, "Linoleum" draws another chant-along chorus (would have loved to hear "Linewleum" instead), and "Kill All The White Man" finishes the set in their usual chilled out manner.

So how was it? Lots of classics, some deeper cuts, and in the end, a solid NOFX show. Does it compare to the "Punk In Drublic" album set at Groezrock? Of course not. I've seen them eighteen times now and there are so many great shows in between. This one is a more sober, but still funny version of the same. In other words, NOFX played a NOFX show. [8½]

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXXII Rockfreaks.net.