No Values Festival 2024

No Values Festival on June 8th, 2024 was a celebration of punk rock, capturing the raw energy and rebellious spirit that has defined the genre for decades. With four stages and a lineup featuring both legendary acts and emerging talents, the festival presented by Goldenvoice took place at the Fairplex in Pomona, California; it was a nonstop marathon of music, moshing, and memories for the over 40,000 people in attendance spanning multiple generations of bands and fans.

Here’s a breakdown of the standout performances that made the day unforgettable.

Shattered Faith, known for their energetic live performances, started the day off. Their start included frequent appearances at legendary venues such as the Cuckoo’s Nest in Costa Mesa and the Hong Kong Café in Los Angeles; these shows were pivotal in defining the Southern California punk sound and culture. Their set was absolutely fantastic and set the tone for the entire festival — super high energy and very engaging. The early crowd packed in fast and was treated to a great set with songs that included:

  • “The Verdict”
  • “Another Day Passes”
  • “Ride and Fall”
  • “A Special Day”
  • “I Love America”
  • “Victims of Society”
  • “Power to the Kids”
  • “Discontent”
  • “Reagan Country”
  • “Final Conflict”
  • “Right Is Right”
  • “Trilogy”
  • “Born to You”

Due to the fact that there were four stages with overlapping bands, fans had to pick and choose who they wanted to see and how long they would devote to each set. However, as I made my way through the entire day and from stage to stage, I saw the same faces planted firmly at the front of the rails, waiting hours upon hours for their favorite bands.

It was serious dedication for those who wanted to be front-and-center for Social D or Misfits.

Once you were in, you were there for the entire day. One young couple drove cross-country just to see the fest… but primarily The Misfits. They planted themselves in the front right corner of the rail — as close to the stage as you could get, starting at 11:10am — and they did not move the entire day. Ahh, festival life! One thing I will say is that security was fantastic, supportive, and kind — a rarity far too often. They passed out water nonstop during the entire festival. Kudos to Goldenvoice for that!

After Shattered Faith, I made my way over to one of the main stages to see one of my absolute lifelong favorites, The Adolescents. I had a great chat with frontman Tony Reflex before the set… Always an interesting chat. They most certainly always puts on an amazing show. And, of course, any time you want to see a punk crowd bust out and the circle pit go nuts, you only have to wait until they launch into “Amoeba” and this day was no different! Their set list included:

  • “L.A. Girl”
  • “Monolith at the Mountlake Terrace”
  • “5150 or Fight” 
  • “Who Is Who” 
  • “Losing Battle” 
  • “Just Because” 
  • “Welcome to Reality” 
  • “Amoeba” 
  • “OC Confidential” 
  • “Rip It Up” 
  • “Escape From Planet Fuck” 
  • “Kids of the Black Hole”

Next up for me was a full sprint across the entire fairgrounds to catch the always entertaining Aquabats. They hit the stage in their traditional uniforms, but with a fun twist: instead of their traditional blue-and-black outfits, they dawned black-and-grey outfits with long widow points hanging in front of their faces and skeleton hands, an absolutely hilarious and appropriate salute to the ultimate headliners of the night, The Misfits.

In true Aquabats fashion, they brought their upbeat ska pop punk style and gave the crowd a great show.

Halfway through their set, they tossed out inflatable sharks that the crowd gleefully tossed around. There is something just odd and strangely funny about a punk crowd acting like a bunch of little giddy kids, keeping inflatable sharks from hitting the ground. And of course, during “Cat with 2 Heads”, the cat monster joined them onstage. They were really great and a ton of fun, playing:

  • “Fashion Zombies”
  • “Cat with 2 Heads”
  • “The Shark Fighter”
  • “No Rewind”
  • “Dr. Space Mummy”
  • “Pizza Day”
  • “Super Rad”
  • “Pool Party”

Following the Aquabats, I made the half-mile march back to the second main stage to check out one of my always must-see bands, The Adicts. We are friends with Pete Dee, so catching an Adicts show is always like hanging out with family. Oh, and it’s always fun trying to get Pete’s attention from the photo pit! In true Adicts “Troubadour” style, they absolutely crushed their set. While you always know what you are going to get from the Adicts, you will always walk away with a huge smile on your face… and you will never walk alone! See what I did there? Monkey, always commanding the stage and crowd, put on an extra special show this time that I will not soon forget.

Joker cards, confetti, streamers, and big white beach balls were flying around, as always.

There were a ton of kids in the crowd, many at the rail, all of them begging security and us photogs to hand them playing cards Monkey had tossed into the pit. Of course, we obliged. What a great band to introduce young punkers to! Their set included:

  • “Let’s Go”
  • “Joker in the Pack”
  • “Numbers”
  • “Troubadour”
  • “Fuck It Up”
  • “My Baby Got Run Over by a Steamroller”
  • “Just Like Me”
  • “Chinese Takeaway”
  • “Bad Boy”
  • “Viva La Revolution”
  • “You’ll Never Walk Alone” 
  • “Symphony no. 9 in D minor, op. 125 – IV. Finale” (“Ode to Joy”) (Ludwig van Beethoven cover)

Next up for me was the legendary T.S.O.L.; I have seen them many times and I can tell you that this set was special. Jack Grisham always has a giant grin on his face (knowing Jack’s history, I have no desire to know what he is smiling about) and he commands the stage. To be honest, Jack terrifies me in the best ways… if you know, you know. LOL. And on this day, I decided to be brave and wave at Jack from the photo pit! He was kind enough to wave back with a huge smile, but oddly, only one finger! Hmmm, weird. The crowd for this set had grown significantly as people were FINALLY able to get into the festival grounds, more on that later. And the pits, yes pits plural, were insane!! While the entire set was great, “Code Blue” was an absolute monster for me. Their set included the following songs:

  • “Sounds of Laughter”
  • “Terrible People”
  • “Superficial Love”
  • “Give Me More”
  • “Satellites”
  • “In My Head”
  • “Darker My Love”
  • “World War III”
  • “Abolish Government / Silent Majority”
  • “Wash Away”
  • “The Triangle”
  • “Fuck You Tough Guy”
  • “Code Blue”

And here is where I hand this review over to my partner in crime, my son Ian James, who is a way better writer than me and a badass punk bassist. Take it away, kid! 

I wish I could travel back in time to see Black Flag in their glory days! While the set was vastly different from the iconic Black Flag sound of the 1980s, particularly the Rollins era, the band still managed to put on a fantastic show. Having the chance to see Greg Ginn’s wild and eclectic guitar performance in person was an experience that I would not trade for anything. The classics were played: “Nervous Breakdown”, “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie”, and “Rise Above” stood out in particular. While they weren’t performed as fast or as loud as they used to be played and the pit was not as chaotic as I imagine it was years ago, the band played with the same passion and creative spirit that one would expect from Black Flag.

The crowd was great and seemed to truly love the nostalgic moments.

So, while Ian was over at Black Flag, I decided to go check out some of the side shows. First up was the Van’s halfpipe, where skate legends like Steve Caballero and Tony Hawk showed why they are revered. I also swung over to check out the always-awesome art collection from Punk Rock and Paintbrushes. Some of the biggest names in punk rock display and sell their incredible artwork, showing their extended talent as artists. The organization also does amazing charity work, so any time you get a chance, go give them some love at a show! Last up for me was a quick run over to the legendary Jello Biafra’s “Jello a Go Go” DJ stage. I got to hang out and watch my friend Pete Dee from The Adicts play some great punk tunes to an enthusiastic crowd!

From there I made my way over to get ready for one of my all-time favorite punk bands, Agent Orange, but while waiting for them to take the stage, I got an extra special treat. I got to catch the tail-end of the Ceremony set and, OMFG, they were so damn good!

It was a pure power violence hardcore set and frontman Ross Farrar was absolutely freaking incredible!

One of the highlight moments was when Farrar was leaning off the insanely tall stage and pointing the mic towards the crowd and one of the countless crowd-surfers made his way over the rail and snatched the mic! Farrar laughed; security, not so much. Once the mic was back in Farrar’s hands, he leapt off the stage and climbed onto the front rail, greeted by a crush of rabid fans screaming out the song to Farrar’s delight. He handed the mic to the crowd and they went nuts. This went on for half a song and, at one point, Farrar leaned into the crowd and was totally embraced by a dozen young ecstatic punks. It was truly a beautiful moment. How many bands do this? Damn near none. Well done to Farrar for all you do and did that day!

That’s true love for your fans and as punk as punk gets!

OK, not gonna lie, all the other bands aside, Agent Orange was the main reason I was there that day. Mike and the crew hit the stage and I had a hard time doing my job containing my excitement! Yes, the old man damn near dropped the cameras, hopped the rail, and jumped into the pit. However, I had a job to do and the reality of being 54 and broken got me back to my senses. Agent Orange never disappoints. This day was no exception. They opened up with “Breakdown” and I was in, so in. But then, something insanely cool happened: instead of launching into “Everything Turns Grey”, Mike announces a special guest. None other than punk rock royalty and legend Jello Biafra took the stage and they launched into the Dead Kennedys‘ “Police Truck”. OMFG once more!! This was literally one of the top two moments of the entire fest for me! I mean, come on!!! I spoke to a ton of people during the day who had gotten texts and saw social media posts about this surprise and all who missed it were super bummed. Full set as follows:

  • “Breakdown”
  • “Police Truck” (Dead Kennedys cover with Jello Biafra)
  • “No Such Thing”
  • “Bloodstains”
  • “Everything Turns Grey”
  • “Living in Darkness”
  • “A Cry for Help in a World Gone Mad”

Back to Ian.

The Garden is a surreal and strange experience, but always incredible. It was not my first time seeing the band and it certainly will not be my last time seeing them either. They are known for their odd sampling and sound effects, mixed with minimal, yet still quite impressive basslines and tight drumming. The Shears twins are some of the most creative musicians out there right now, yet they catch an unbelievable amount of hate for their innovations. People call it ridiculous, meaningless noise, and claim that they do not make “punk music”. These sentiments were quite loud in the comment section of No Values posts after The Garden was announced to play the festival, with one of the top comments claiming they’d be bringing tomatoes to throw. This clearly had an impact on the brothers as they played with more anger than some of the most hardcore bands I have seen in my life. They thrashed about onstage and quickly destroyed the foolish criticisms of the armchair music critics, at one point even directly addressing the hate they received online, something like: “We heard a lot of talk, where are those tomatoes now?” as the song “Hit Eject” began to play.

If you know the song, you know the intent behind the comment.

If you haven’t discovered The Garden yet, give them a try, these brothers are some of the most uniquely creative and inspired musicians the punk rock music world has had in years. It was a great set and they certainly not only deserved to be part of the lineup, but they also deserved a hell of a lot more respect than they were shown by some. 

Back to you, old man.

After Agent Orange, I took a must-needed break in the media room before rushing back across the entire grounds to catch the iconic band, The Damned. If you have never seen The Damned, you need to make sure to catch them. They are not only one of the founding members of punk rock, but they also still crush it at every show. But this show was even more special as they brought back their original drummer, Rat Scabies, for the show. Watching Rat, the Captain, and Dave, et. Al. onstage together was beyond special and they just killed it. After nearly 50 years together, these guys still put on one hell of a show. Maybe someday I will see them play “Alone Again Or Live”, but not on this day. Their set included:

  • “Wait for the Blackout”
  • “Plan 9 Channel 7”
  • “Melody Lee”
  • “Beware of the Clown”
  • “Eloise” (Barry Ryan cover)
  • “The Invisible Man”
  • “Noise Noise Noise”
  • “Love Song”
  • “Machine Gun Etiquette”
  • “Neat Neat Neat”
  • “New Rose”
  • “Smash It Up”

The rest of the day was an all-out sprint between the two main stages. Next up for me was LA’s own original hardcore legends, Suicidal Tendencies. Mike Muir came out like a powerhouse, even after all these years. The man has voracious energy and never stops moving, always playing to the throngs of intense fans and always repping Suicidal at every chance. Literally, Mike is covered head to toe in Suicidal merch! It’s super cool seeing former Suicidal bass player Robert Trujillo’s (Metallica) son, 19-year-old Tye, crush it on bass with the band! The set was nonstop energy and the crowd was nuts! I counted at least six mosh pits in the massive crowd while the following played:

  • “You Can’t Bring Me Down”
  • “I Shot the Devil”
  • “Memories of Tomorrow”
  • “Freedumb”
  • “Send Me Your Money”
  • “Subliminal”
  • “Cyco Vision”
  • “Pledge Your Allegiance”
  • “Institutionalized”

Next up was another sprint across the grounds back to the second main stage to catch one of my all-time fave 90s bands, Sublime. You may have gotten use to catching Sublime with Rome over the last several years. However, on this day, Jakob Nowell (son of the late Bradley Nowell) took the front spot and led the band to an absolutely unforgettable performance.

Nowell not only looks like his late dad, he sounds so much like him it’s uncanny.

In fact, at one point during “Ball and Chain”, an insanely cool surprise in and of iteself, as they have not done this song in years, I put my cameras down and closed my eyes. I swear to god I was transported to the early 90s and could hear Bradley singing. It was moving and incredible. Not only did we feel it, so did Jakob. He clearly had so much fun and it was infectious! I was not the only one who felt this way. I spoke with numerous fans who thought the same thing. Truly, this show was one of, if not the main, highlight of the entire festival for me and many others! I cannot wait for Jakob to front the band full-time and for them to go on tour. I will be there for it, no doubt! Their set included:

  • “Date Rape”
  • “54-46 That’s My Number/Ball And Chain” (First time since 1996)
  • “Pool Shark” (First time since 1996)
  • “Right Back” (First time since 1996)
  • “New Thrash” (First time since 1996)
  • “Wrong Way”
  • “We’re Only Gonna Die” (First time since 1996 and tribute to Bad Religion, up next)
  • “The Ballad of Johnny Butt”
  • “Jailhouse”
  • “Hope” (First time since 1996)
  • “STP”
  • “Same in the End”
  • “Santeria”

We then sprinted back to the other main stage to catch Bad Religion. I consider myself a huge Bad Religion fan and lucky as hell to have seen them as many times as I have over the years. I’ve also had the great luck of getting to know bassist and founding member Jay Bentley a bit. He is another one I always try to catch the attention of in the photo pit, because it’s always hilarious to actually get his attention and see the look on his face.

While Jay and the fellas always put on a hell of great show, there was something special about this day.

Jay had a smile on his face bigger and longer than I can remember. During one funny moment, some dumbass thought it would be cool and ‘punk rock’ to throw a full can of beer towards the stage. It nearly hit frontman Greg Graffin, but he was able to block it away and give a strong ‘dad look’ to the crowd. The flying objects ceased from then on. The show this day was somehow extra special. The band, of course, crushed it and I cannot put my finger on what it was… the crowd, the gorgeous SoCal weather, or everything all at once, but this set was special and if you were there, you know what I am talking about. Their set included:

  • “Recipe for Hate”
  • “Supersonic”
  • “Los Angeles Is Burning”
  • “Fuck You”
  • “Generator”
  • “New Dark Ages”
  • “Come Join Us”
  • “No Control”
  • “My Sanity”
  • “Do What You Want”
  • “We’re Only Gonna Die”
  • “Sorrow”
  • “21st Century (Digital Boy)”
  • “American Jesus”
  • “The Boys Are Back in Town” (Thin Lizzy cover) (Snippet)

Now it was time for the old man to chill and wait for Iggy Pop. Take it away, Ian.

Turnstile played a set that is hard to put into words; it was my first time seeing them and to say they ‘blew me away’ would be the understatement of the century. They played an unbelievable mix of punk, hardcore, and indie sounds that I have yet to hear from any other band. During the entire set, they didn’t speak a word to the audience. But it did not matter… the energy they brought with their ethereal sampling and roaring guitar sounds left the entire crowd wanting more. Keep an eye out for this band, since they are going to be a defining one for this decade of alternative music.

Side note: they had really interesting footage playing on the screens, 99% crowd shots or video of the sky. It was very artsy and not at all what you would expect for a festival backdrop. There was even a moment when the cameramen zoomed in on the badges and guns of some of the cops present and the whole crowd booed. Then, when they switched back to shots of the audience, everyone cheered again.

This is as much a shoutout to the band as it is to the video team.

This was a great representation of the day overall. While there were plenty of cops there, decked out in their tactical gear looking like special ops soldiers, there was hardly any need for them. The crowd of 40,000-plus people was incredible. People on the outside often have no idea how considerate, loving, supportive, and kind the punk community is — especially to each other.

Back to you, dad.

Next up, to quote the great rock and roll movie Almost Famous, “Iggy Pop! Amen!” This was the first time I have been able to catch an Iggy Pop show! I know, I know! Where have I been?! I will tell you that even after all these decades, Iggy Pop is still a rock god. He sounds as good today as he did 40 years ago. His energy is nonstop and he danced across the main stage with vitality and that swagger he is so known for. His voice was fantastic! The crowd for his set had grown massive! As far as I could see in any direction, it was filled shoulder to shoulder with punks and it was a beautiful site! He put on a killer set of:

  • “T.V. Eye” (The Stooges song)
  • “Raw Power” (Iggy and The Stooges song)
  • “I Got a Right” (Iggy and The Stooges song) (First solo Iggy performance since 2003)
  • “Gimme Danger” (Iggy and The Stooges song)
  • “The Passenger”
  • “Lust for Life” (With a fan onstage)
  • “Death Trip” (Iggy and The Stooges song)
  • “Loose” (The Stooges song)
  • “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (The Stooges song)
  • “Search and Destroy” (Iggy and The Stooges song)
  • “Down on the Street” (The Stooges song)
  • “1970” (The Stooges song) (First Iggy Pop solo performance since 1989)

Back to Ian while the old man put his feet up and waited for the penultimate headliners, The Misfits…

Social Distortion was the last band on the second main stage and the ultimate co-headliner for No Values. Having just seen Social D in April for my first time, I was really excited to see them again. I loved them the first time I saw them in Vegas with Bad Religion, but this set was even better. Mike Ness and Johnny Two Bags absolutely crushed it; the band sounded as tight as ever. Ness, who you may know recently recovered from life-threatening cancer, was at full speed and put on one hell of a great blues rockabilly punk set. It was so damned good! It was one of the best sets of the day for me, including:

  • “Through These Eyes”
  • “I Was Wrong”
  • “Tonight”
  • “Mommy’s Little Monster”
  • “The Creeps”
  • “1945”
  • “Lude Boy”
  • “Reach for the Sky”
  • “Over You”
  • “Ball and Chain”
  • “Story of My Life”
  • “Born to Kill”
  • “Ring of Fire”

The final set of the night and to close of a very long day was The Misfits.

Let Halloween commence!

As Glenn, Doyle, and Jerry took the stage in all their horror show glory, I took the moment to take it all in and scan the crowd. HOLY SHIT! I cannot recall seeing a crowd that big in person that packed in like that; well over 40,000 people crammed in and surrounded our seats to catch a relatively rare live set from the iconic and elusive ORIGINAL Misfits. If you have never seen something like that in person, find a way at least once in your life to be part of something that big or bigger.

The Misfits were really good, as always. There were some significant delays between songs as they retuned guitars or replaced Jerry’s broken basses, and a lot of “what should we play next?” banter with the crowd. I have seen them a few times over the last several years and the apparent lack of a setlist is always a thing… always questionable if it is real or not. Honestly, I could do without that. So many great songs, let’s just keep that insane energy going! But that aside, they put on a great set and when the songs were on, they were massive crowd-pleasers (literally and figuratively!). Danzig, nearing the venue curfew and in true Danzig fashion, clapped, “They are telling us we only have 10 minutes left. Well fuck it, we will keep playing!” The crowd was 100% down for it. The Misfits delivered and were an excellent way to bring the inaugural festival to a close with:

  • “Death Comes Ripping”
  • “I Turned Into a Martian”
  • “Horror Business”
  • “Vampira”
  • “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?”
  • “Some Kinda Hate”
  • “London Dungeon”
  • “Where Eagles Dare”
  • “Teenagers From Mars”
  • “Children in Heat”
  • “Earth A.D.”
  • “Green Hell”
  • “Hollywood Babylon”
  • “Violent World”
  • “Night of the Living Dead”
  • “Hybrid Moments”
  • “Bullet”
  • “Who Killed Marilyn”
  • “Skulls”
  • “Attitude”
  • “All Hell Breaks Loose”
  • “Astro Zombies”
  • “Halloween”
  • “Last Caress”

And, naturally, an encore:

  • “20 Eyes”
  • “Die, Die My Darling”

While overall No Values was an epic day and a great time, there were a few shows we could not catch simply because there were four stages and overlapped set times. So, there were plenty of moments of “are we going to watch this entire set or cut out early to catch part of another?” One of my wishes would have been for this to be a two-day festival to allow for not only full sets to be seen, but to catch a lot more of the bands playing. There simply was no way to see everyone, which was a bummer. Some of the other highlight bands I heard about from others included L7, Hepcat, The Jesus Lizard, The Skeletones, and Viagra Boys. I also would have really loved to have seen The Dead Milkmen and Fidlar, both of whom I have heard were absolutely amazing. 

There were other issues many people were unhappy about and I think are fair game as part of a review, mainly traffic control and parking. Now, let’s be clear, this really has more to do with the venue, its location, and the Pomona PD and their handling of traffic. If you got to the venue before doors, you generally had little to no problems getting in. Thankfully for us, that was the case. We got there at 10:45am, parked, and were inside in time to catch Shattered Faith. However, if you did not get there before 11:30, you were apparently screwed. As many began attempting to arrive around doors or shortly thereafter, they found an absolute mess getting off the freeways and reaching the venue, and parking was a mess seeing as VIP parking was oversold, forcing people who paid good money to park far away from the gates they were promised immediate proximity to. I knew several people that relayed that it took them, no joke, THREE-TO-FIVE HOURS to get from the freeway into parking and then to the front gates! Social media was filled with very, very unhappy ticket holders, some who simply gave up and went home. And then again at the end of the night, unless you left early, you were likely stuck in a mess trying to get out from any exit and to any freeway. It took us personally over two hours to get out and the traffic control inside the parking lot kept rerouting traffic patterns back into themselves. It was not great.

Again, this was not a promoter issue, but a venue and logistics issue.

Hopefully, if No Values occurs again in the future and I truly hope it does, they will find a solution to this very big problem.

Overall, No Values was a great festival. Once inside, the shows were great, the crowds were great, security was great, and it was a welcoming and safe environment. There were a few bands not on the list that could have been added, so maybe in the future. While I am getting too old to sprint around festivals like this for much longer, I hope to be back next year, for sure — especially if it becomes a two-day show! 

Photography by Shane Pase; recap by Ian & Shane Pase

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