Warfest, the annual punk rock festival, returns to its normal time in January of 2023. The festival also returns to its home at the Gaslamp in Long Beach, where it has been every year (except when COVID put a halt to live shows). While the festival brings yet another great lineup of bands, a slight change to this year’s festivities is that the usual two-night event will all take place on one day – Saturday, January 14th.
This year’s headliner will be none other than the phenomenon known as Punk Rock Karaoke, a first for Warfest. For those unfamiliar, it’s essentially karaoke but with a live band consisting of punk rock royalty: Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks, Bad Religion) on guitar, Stan Lee (Dickies) on guitar, Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger) on drums, and Ed Tatar (Dickies, D.I.). With over 60 legendary punk rock songs to choose from, anything from Green Day to NOFX, to Black Flag to the Descendents, whether you’re in the crowd or on stage singing, it’s a blast and something you have to experience in person. During the pandemic, the band even began doing remote collaborations with celebrity vocals recorded separately, most notably, Tony Hawk singing The Jam’s “In the City.”
No strangers to Warfest, the night will also feature punk rock delinquents, Guttermouth. It’s always interesting to see how lead singer Mark Adkins will perform at their shows. Whether it’s playing songs like “Lipstick” or “Bakers Dozen” and playing the role of perpetual brat cracking wise in between songs, he’s always hilarious and entertaining to watch. I have noticed their shows have gotten a lot tighter since adding the phenomenal former Voodoo Glow Skulls drummer, AJ Condosta to their lineup.
Ed Tatar will be pulling double duty that night, as bassist in Punk Rock Karaoke, as well as his main band, D.I. A band at the heart of the Orange County punk movement in the early ‘80s, along with the Adolescents and Social Distortion, D.I. has remained active for the last forty years. The one constant during that time has been lead singer and founding member, Casey Royer, who has hosted Warfest on previous occasions.
Long Beach, California
January 14, 2023
A special treat for the night will be a performance by Bad Brains lead singer and co-founder, HR. The highly influential hardcore punk icon will likely be playing a toned down set featuring songs off of his solo reggae efforts. HR (which stands for Human Rights) has released over a dozen solo records since his 1985 debut, “It’s About Luv.” Through both the Bad Brains and his solo work, HR has often stressed the importance of “PMA” or positive mental attitude, a lifestyle that has since been adapted by several hardcore bands, including Toby Morse of H20. Getting to see HR perform will truly be a memorable experience.
The night will also feature support from bands returning from last year’s lineup including Long Beach’s hardcore punk band, Dissension; Infamous Stiffs, who were one of the highlights of last year’s festival and look to bring that same energy this year; The Clowns, who despite their onstage wardrobe show that they are nothing to laugh about; and the night will start with longtime Orange County pop punk band, Mr. Firley.
Another great lineup of punk for Warfest 2023, so grab your tickets and make plans to be there!