While I did not think it could get better than Punk in the Park 2021, Punk in the Park 2022 was nonstop punk rock insanity from beginning to end!
One of the biggest punk events in OC was back and once again, this festival proves shows can be done well after years of challenges for the live music industry.
PUNK IN THE PARK 21022
November 5th & 6th, 2022
Oak Canyon Park, California
Day one started with the surprise of a new configuration to the park which allowed a larger VIP area and made it easier to get to the merchandise tables. It did, however reconfigure the parking into one lane (from four the previous year), which proved to be challenging for the last two miles as the day went on.
With supporting bands like The Bronx, 7 Seconds, Bad Cop / Bad Cop, and The Flatliners, day one started off just right.
As The Adolescents played on the main stage, the crowd continued to pour in without stopping. As dusk set in, they played their best-known song, “Amoeba,” which got the crowd super pumped. You could see the dust from the pit start to rise faster and stronger while the mosh pit moved quickly.
Then the crowd moved to stage two to see everyone’s favorite Mexican punk parody band, Manic Hispanic. The band leapt on to the stage and started with “Mas Chingones,” and on they went through most of the fan favorites.
They handed candy-filled piñatas to the crowd, and co-front-man Louie Perez III crowd floated while singing into the microphone. Co-front-man Efrem Schulz dedicated their set to band members Steve Soto and Mike “Gabby” Gaborno, both of whom had passed on.
Once done, the sun had set and it was now dark and cold, but the crowd kept their blood warm by running to the main stage to see who would be filling the spot of Dead Kennedys. Due to the passing of drummer D.H. Peligro a few days prior, DK understandably pulled out of the show. Introducing the band filling their spot was Punk in the Park founder, Cameron Collins, and behind him hung a banner that read, “The Vandals.” The crowd cheered for the OC-native band so loud, it almost shook the ground.
Opening with “Urban Struggle,” then later dedicating a song to Peligro and playing Dead Kennedys’ “Let’s Lynch the Landlord,” it was a tender punk rock moment for the crowd seeing everyone come together for one of their own.
Guitarist Warren Fitzgerald was exciting as usual, singing their final song of the night, “I Have a Date,” and telling front-man Dave Quackenbush as he played guitar, “You’re really good at that!”
As the evening turned chilly, Face to Face went on promptly at 7:30 and jumped right into “No Way Out But Through,” which showcases bassist Scott Shiflett’s powerful abilities. “A-OK” was followed by “Walk the Walk.” The band played the majority of songs off their self-titled 1996 album, which seemed to get the crowd moving.
Front-man Trevor Keith told the crowd, “No sitting down, sipping beer on my watch.” In true F2F form, the band closed the set with “Disconnected,” and the fans cheered in approval.
After what seemed like the blink of an eye, Bad Religion took the stage with the title track of their 1993 album, “Recipe for Hate.” Their second song, “Chaos from Within,” was off their most recent album, and throughout the set, the band did an excellent job balancing songs from the multitude of LPs in their catalogue.
They even played “Before You Die,” which they hadn’t performed live in almost a decade. The normally buttoned-up front-man Greg Graffin entertained the crowd with a belch into the mic and said, “Tastes like Bud Light,” to which the crowd cheered.
BR ended their set and day one of Punk in the Park with “American Jesus,” and the crowd, although freezing at this point, went bananas – some literally as there were two punk fans dressed in banana costumes in the crowd.
On day two, the crowd knew to show up early and avoid any traffic issues. The day was sunny and a bit warmer than day one, but we knew that would soon change. With supporting bands like Pulley, Good Riddance, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and Channel 3, day two was going to be just as amazing.
The buildup for Anti-Flag was palatable as the band had their pre-show huddle just off to the side of the stage before they jumped on and went right into “The Press Corpse.” Guitarist Chris #2 stood on the bass drum and leapt off.
With only enough time for eight songs, the band played off six albums. Voodoo Glow Skulls front-man Efrem Schulz ran out to join the band onstage to sing a chorus of “Die for the Government.” They played an excellent hodgepodge of old-school, beloved punk songs that got the crowd cheering with every tempo change.
Because of the time change, the sun had set completely and it was now dark. Through that dark, the crowd made their way to the last band of stage two, Agent Orange.
This pulled the biggest crowd of the night despite the lack of light. Front-man Mike Palm said he wanted to “keep it old school” with their setlist, which they did. Finishing their set with “Blood Stains,” the crowd cheered and moved back to stage one to await Murder City Devils.
Seattle’s Murder City Devils took the stage and started with “Dance Hall Music,” then went directly into “It’s in My Heart.” The band played a great Patti Smith cover of “Pissing in a River” in the middle of their set. To finish off their time, they ended with “Murder City Riot,” an underground favorite.
It was dark and cold, but that didn’t stop fans from cheering for the very popular East Coast punk band, The Bouncing Souls. The quartet started with “Ole!” and then “That Song.” Fans cheered and sang along. They played the very popular “Lean on Sheena” and “True Believers” in their 18-song setlist. Finishing off their time of the night was a new song, “Ten Stories High,” which the crowd really enjoyed.
Rounding the night off and giving dudes another excuse to come to a punk show in a kilt was Dropkick Murphys. Once the band started, the numbness of fingers and toes seemed non-existent while fans raised their fists in the air for the opening song, “Ten Times More.” Front-man Ken Casey wasted no time jumping into the crowd during their second song, “The Boys are Back.”
They finished off the weekend extravaganza with an encore playing “Dig a Hole,” off their newly released album, and “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.”
The weekend proved to be another successful event and anther great punk show that left fans and families with tons of memories and new friends. The lack of cell service was tricky to get around but that left you able to meet more people than usual and enjoy your surroundings.
Punk in the Park 2023 will be hard to beat but we know OC Brew Ha Ha productions will make it happen. Plenty of bathrooms, food options, free beer and seltzer tastings, tons of amazing bands, and the chance to meet so many great people, what more do you need for a perfect punk show?