The Bunkhouse, the dive bar on Fremont Street and 11th Street, where cowboys, crackheads and downtowners alike go to drink, hit an all-time high May 27 as it welcomed the biggest band to ever play there, 2 Tone Ska icons The English Beat, as part of Punk Rock Bowling.
Granted, only Dave Wakeling remains from the classic lineup, but being that he’s the voice behind most of the hits, and he is supported by a group of stellar musicians including hype man Antonio First Class (musically classified as the “Toaster” of the group) and spot-on saxophonist Matt Moorish, it made no difference. On top of that, they had already played a headline gig for PRB on Fremont Street on just two nights before.
Patrick “Pulsar” Trout, who has been booking full-time at the The BH since February 2011 reminded me that Punk Rock Bowling has housed after parties and smaller shows there in the past. But this time was different. “We offered them use of the outdoor stage, which gave us the ability to host much larger acts than in the past. We had the Aggrolites (who played right before The English Beat) in March for Neon Reverb, so we were stoked to have them back. And hosting a band like English Beat is awesome for us. They liked the venue and we’re hoping to get them back soon.”
The outdoor stage, which is situated in the back of the building in the parking lot, is tailor-made for a nice summer late-night show. It’s got that block party feel to it and with the staff barbecuing chicken and burgers, plus outdoor beer taps.
Pulsar proudly believes the growth and development of the festival go hand-in-hand with the rise of the Vegas scene. “It brings a ton of business downtown and is great for the music scene,” he says. “It was also great to see some of the awesome local punk bands in our scene like Holding
onto Sound, the Seriouslys, the Civilians and The Vermin have a chance to be included on some of the lineups.”
Alyhough the show was cut off at 2:15 a.m., The English Beat still had time to run through crowd favorites. Indeed, the band crafted its set-list from audience requests, including “Tears of a Clown”, “Mirror In the Bathroom” and a killer “Save It for Later” — but left off was “I Confess,” an English Beat necessity.