MAY 12th 2018
Photos by Peter Ruttan
Review by Richard Steven Hensey


I love this time of year as the concerts are starting to role in and one show in particular I’ve had my sights on for the past few months was the Sabroso Music Festival. Now in its 5th year and it’s produced by California's craft beer festival producer Brew Ha Ha Productions. The Festival brings heavy hitting Punk Rock bands The Offspring, Pennywise, Against Me!, LIT, Unwritten Law, and Los Kung Fu Monkeys to the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn Washington. The concept basically for this festival is to join punk music with beer, tacos and Lucha Libre style wrestling into one spot over 7 U.S. dates. In addition to The Offspring headling this years festival, Dexter Holland featured his hot sauce Gringo Bandito, which gives concert goers a chance to sample all flavors while stuffing their faces with tacos and wash it down with ice cold craft beer. The festival doors opened at 1 pm and finished shortly after 10:05 pm as the music started at 3 pm and you could sample local beers up to 4 hours. Sample Craft Beers in IPAs, pale ales, stouts, lagers were at $4 and the cans $10.

Most concerts goers would agree this was an afternoon of pure adrenaline fun! The sun was in peak form which allowed for an enjoyable event. This wasn’t my first time at the White River Amphitheatre, and it has been know to servere traffic issues getting IN and OUT. That being said getting IN was no problem but getting OUT…ughhh.  Inside though the organizers of the festival gave plenty of room for all the breweries, taco, food, and vendors.

There was one main stage that the bands would play, and another where the wrestling ring was staged. The world top Lucha Libre wrestlers were battling for the Sabroso Championship title. The matches were performed between the set up and break down of the bands. Another staple to the festival was the taco eating contest featuring the world famous Takeru Kobayashi, the man with the iron gut from Japan who holds 8 records in the Guinness Book of World Records. Insane right?

Los Kung Fu Monkeys took the stage first at 3pm. Originated from Tijuana in 1997, lead singer Bang Bang and band were a ton of fun. There set hit 30 minutes of ska punk and these guys definitely got the fans primed for a fun day of sun and music.

Unwritten Law hail from San Diego and if you haven’t heard their music it’s power driven punk with an alternative rock influence. Original members, singer Scott Russo and drummer Wade Youman, and 2013 additions, guitarist Chris Lewis and bassist Jonny Grill, evoke the crowd to stand and party for the 30 minute set. Songs performed were ‘Teenage Suicide’, ‘California Sky’ and the sweeter ‘Cailin’, a tribute to his daughter.

Southern California punk pop band LIT was next up and for a band in their 40s, you’d never know it. The band formerly known as Razzle proves very much to be youngsters at heart running around the stage especially in the heat. Singer Popoff is a charismatic front man who belted in tunes “My Own Worst Enemy”, “Good Problem” and “Zip Lock”. This was my first time covering this band  and without a doubt they are an entertaining band, something they live up to on Friday night. For a spot of happy reminiscence, their show is a worthwhile one

Against Me! opened their set with “True Trans Soul Rebel” from the 2014 Transgender Dysphoria Blues release. The song has personal topic for lead singer Laura Jane Grace who came out as a transgender in 2012. The strong connection between the band and the crowd is one of the things that make Against Me!’s shows a band not to miss. Laura Jane Grace isn’t much of a talker in between songs her songs but the energy she puts into performing makes up for it ten fold. If you have never caught this band live you need to put it on the list of must bands to see.

Long-running iconic Cali punkers Pennywise hit the stage with sun being down on the stage. Jim Lindberg sporting shades leaped to the front and bellowed out  “ Fight Till You Die”. Fans in Auburn were treated to a band who played hard, played fast and were having a blast doing it.  Out of all the bands Pennywise brings out more intense mosh pits and energy on stage. Its what Pennywise is know for years and these guys are still at the top of there game.

To finish the night off as people were full of tacos and beer, The Offspring hit the stage and opened with popular songs. “Americana” “All I Want” and “Come Out And Play” The band who had a successful run in the mid 90’s blasted through the popular hits for all fans. Dexter Holland began a stripped down, piano heavy rendition of “Gone Away” halfway through the set, prompting a sea of cell phones and lighters into the air. It is without a doubt that The Offspring having so many iconic songs hit the radio it creates fans  and diehard fans in singing every song on the set list. The super group ended with “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and “Self Esteem”. I hope the festival comes through the northwest next year as I’m sure out of the drove of fans that came and saw and conquered would love to do it all over again.