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Viva Las Gregus, baby!

Posted on June 4, 2014 by Taber Times

My experience at the 16th annual Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas has now come and gone and with many fond (and one not so fond) memories to reminisce about.

FORMAL ATTIRE: Many people hit the Vegas strip dressed to impress with high heels, cocktail dresses or GQ suits to give off that high roller vibe — as they play the $5 tables.

While this clothing of choice may turn some heads, how many conversations do they actually start?

Enter my treasured Kramer T-shirt off of Seinfeld fame.

I wore the T-shirt on our first day of the Vegas trip and got nine people talking about how they loved it, including three stewardesses. It got to the point a fellow co-pilot on the trip promised me free drinks for the rest of the night if I could get a 10th person to talk about the shirt.

While that unfortunately didn’t happen, my graphic T-shirts the rest of the trip in Godzilla and Stay Puft Marshmallow Man dating, More Cowbell, Old School Scratching Phonographs all got compliments in various elevators or walks along Fremont or the main Vegas strip.

Who needs Gucci or Versace when you have lovable graphic T-shirts?

FREE FALLIN’: I have traveled to Vegas enough times now that I thought I was an expert on the region, but I guess not.

Having stayed at places like Bally’s, Excalibur, Flamingo etc., this was the first time I had stayed at a Fremont Street hotel at the ‘D’ Casino Hotel given the close proximity to the punk rock festival. I’ve walked through Fremont, but never really took my time exploring the area.

And I must say I’m beginning to enjoy it more than the main Vegas strip with a little less attitude and more fun.

Just off of Fremont you can find a vintage video game bar and a more family friendly area where open booze is not allowed.

There is also Hogs and Heifers as my new favourite Vegas watering hole (think of a less glamourized-version of the movie Coyote Ugly). Throw in a Santa sighting and the many buskers lining Fremont and I’d say Fremont is the place to be for me now, which still has plenty of casinos to gamble in.

MEANINGFUL MUSIC: On two of the three days I was healthy enough to take in the punk rock festival, I must say I was not disappointed.

Against Me, NOFX and Good Riddance were highlights for me sprinkled in with bands I had not even remotely heard of before.

It reminded me of when I went to Vegas to watch Bad Religion at the House of Blues and discovered a hidden gem of an opening band in Off With Their Heads.

So much new music I’ve discovered for the play list.  I most certainly stood out like a sore thumb among the pierced, mohawked, tattooed and multi-coloured haired punkers in the crowd, for us all, it was simply a love of the music for why we were there.

BARGAIN BIN: I’ve always prided myself on being a bit of a bargain hunter, trained into me by a mom that I’d swear would drive across town to save 37 cents on lettuce. But be warned weary vegas travelers, numbers are not always what they seem.

Yes, those bountiful tall cans of your favourite beer for $4 for two may seem like a good idea at the time, but walking around in 35 Celsius weather lowers your profit margin of deliciousness.

Unless you are treating your libations like a sprint instead of a marathon, by the time you are half way down your second drink, it’s as warm as Lucifer’s sauna.

Sometimes a deal isn’t necessarily a deal. Also, if you do not see a price of an item off a menu, ask a waitress.

A traveling friend had a bit of sticker shock when the three tequilas he bought had the final price tag of $111. If the price isn’t on the menu, it’s likely very expensive.

SICK CYCLE CAROUSEL: I had to miss one day of the punk festival due to I do not know what.

Eating at various kiosks in Vegas, my money was on food poisoning given how fast my illness came in like a lion and went out like a lamb within 24 hours.

It felt like that monkey off of Outbreak bit me where the day’s diet comprised of ginger ale as it was the only thing I could keep down which was disappointing because I missed the band I wanted to see most in Face to Face. Perhaps it was karma, because the same person in my group this time around traveled with a friend and I to Vegas earlier to go see Bad Religion in which he was knocked out with food poisoning.

I made a crack that we should go eat at the place where he got food poisoning, which must have angered the Irony Gods.

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