One of the greatest punk rock lineups ever assembled combined with world-class motorcycle racing last weekend at the inaugural Surf City Blitz Festival. Thanks to the 40,000 people who attended, the festival was sold out both days. Attendees who purchased VIP tickets were given a dedicated festival entrance, an exclusive viewing area, VIP restrooms, VIP cash bars and exclusive dining options.
Saturday was headlined by The Offspring, and also featured performances by Pennywise, Suicidal Tendencies, FEAR, TSOL, Mad Caddies, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Sharp Shock and Lost In Atlantis. About halfway through their set, FEAR was joined on stage by a surprise guest – someone from the audience who had may their way past security, and onto the stage. After causing a brief delay, and receiving loud “boos”, the individual jumped down from the stage and was escorted away by security. This resulted in vocalist Lee Ving to stating: “Hey! There’s security here today!”
Later in the evening when Pennywise took the stage, fans were treated to covers of “Stand by Me”, and Beastie Boys hit “Fight For Your Right”. Pennywise’s set, like FEAR’s earlier, also featured surprise guests – Dave Quackenbush and Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals, plus Brooks Wackerman! Quackenbush, Fitzgerald and Wackerman joined Pennywise to perform their hit “Urban Struggle”.
Continuing the trend of performing cover songs, headliners The Offspring opened with Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. The Offspring performed a number of hits, including “All I Want”, “Bad Habit”, “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and “Self Esteem”. It has been over six years since The Offspring released their last album, Days Go By, but on Saturday night fans got to hear their newest song “It Won’t Get Better”.
After taking a few hours off to recover, the festival and fans returned for the second day. Sunday’s lineup featured Social Distortion, Rancid, Bad Religion, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Interrupters, The Wrecks, Aaron Lee Tasjan and 2nd Rate Kings.
Los Angeles based indie rock band The Wrecks were not known to most people who attended. By the end of their set, however, The Wrecks had many more fans than they started the day with. Despite plugging Rockstar Energy Drink endlessly, vocalist Nick Anderson confessed that the band is not currently sponsored by them…but they would like to be! In addition to performing plenty of their own songs, The Wrecks played an excellent cover of Jet’s “Are You Gonnna Be My Girl”.
The Interrupters are by far one of the hardest working bands around right now. They recently finished a new album, Fight The Good Fight, played all dates of the Scallywag! festival, and went on tour with Green Day. They will also be playing Wrex The Halls on December 14 in San Diego. The Interrupters performed “A Friend Like Me”, “She’s Kerosene” and “Gave You Everything”.
Bad Religion opened with “Recipe For Hate” and “Skyscraper” from their album Recipe For Hate. This year marked the 30th anniversary of Bad Religion’s influential album Suffer. To celebrate, a block of songs from the album were played: “How Much is Enough?”, “Suffer”, “Forbidden Beat”, “Give You Nothing” and “Do What You Want”.
Rancid performed at the Scallywag! festival last weekend in San Diego, and would have been missed if they had not been included in the Surf City Blitz lineup. Rancid opened with “Radio”, followed by “Roots Radicals” and “East Bay Night”. At one point, guitarist Lars Frederiksen began playing Pennywise’s “Bro Hymn”, before deciding that was a bad idea because they were in “Pennywise country”.
The winner of the Super Hooligan National Championship, Andy DiBrino, was announced Sunday night following Rancid’s performance. DiBrino walked away with $2,500 from Bell Helmets and a RSD custom designed Indian FTR 1200 motorcycle.
Social Distortion concluded their fall tour with Surf City Blitz. Vocalist Mike Ness made it clear that the band was thrilled to be home after spending the better part of the last four months on the road. Social Distortion’s set started off with the first three songs from their album Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll – “Reach For The Sky”, “Highway 101” and “Don’t Take Me For Granted”. Their set list then diverted to well known hits such as “Mommy’s Little Monster” and “Bad Luck”. Social Distortion played a new song, titled “Over You”, which will be part of their next record. Ness mentioned the band plans to begin working on the record soon, now that their tour is complete.
The inaugural Surf City Blitz festival was a huge success, but not free of problems. The stage had a monitor and speakers on the side opposite the VIP section, which was appreciated, but the event still felt overly crowded. Having the VIP area extend to the center of the stage felt intrusive for those not in the VIP section. Due to limited amounts of beach parking, shuttle service was made available between the event and offsite lots. Utilizing the shuttle service made getting to and from the event very easy. I can’t wait to see what the producers of Surf City Blitz come up with next year!