The extensive lawns of San Diego's Waterfront Park is home to many music and cultural festivals: the biannual extreme EDM CRSSD Fest, craft beer celebration BeerX, among others. Besides BeerX, San Diego's 91x radio station commemorates its love for alt-rock outside of the airwaves by hosting handfuls of other events around the calendar year. Of course, craft beer and cocktails are always invited. Every fall, Scallywag cycles around the country, hitting a handful of American cities with the finest bands of punk and ska. This year, Scallywag San Diego hit last on the tour circuit (following Denver, Austin, Auburn and Boise), presented by the one and only 91x station and its merry band of on-air hosts.
Scallywag San Diego was a smashing, skanking success.
Each stop was unlike the last, with some bands ebbing and flowing from the rundown. To the satisfaction of SoCal punk and ska-lovers everywhere, San Diego proffered one of the most stacked lineups of 2018! With Rancid at the headliner helm, Scallywag SD began with unlimited free beer tasting for three full hours on October 20th. Over 150 craft beer vendors lined the 21 and up section, pouring tiny tasters in an endless stream of suds. By the time local openers Beach Goons took the stage, Scallywag attendees were cruising on a nice afternoon buzz. Beach Goons' goofy personality heightened their skankin' sound, allowing several laughs in between songs. Now, although unlimited beer tasting is pretty sweet, the band up next was really why the crowd had meandered over to The Embarcadero so early. The Interrupters, dressed in zoot suit attire and led by rockabilly frontwoman Aimee Interrupter, burst out onto the Scallywag stage with full force, prompting everyone to sing along. Being so new on the scene, many were catching The Interrupters live for the very first time – a performance leaving no one disappointed.
The skank pit never ceased with 90's ska legends Less Than Jake up next, complete with toilet paper guns and life size mascots parading around the stage. Their catchy “Look What Happened” and “The Science Of Selling Yourself Short” stuck in everyone's heads for the rest of the day. The energy was taken down a notch by nightfall, as Jamaican reggae-style SoCal band Hepcat took the stage. Rootsy rhythms slowed the moshing for a minute… but that didn't last long, as Mighty Mighty Bosstones were up next. Megahit after megahit MMB played, all sporting fedoras and matching pink suits. “The Rascal King”, “Someday I Suppose” and, of course, “The Impression That I Get” brought horn sections and happy thoughts to the forefront before punk heroes Rancid closed down the night. Fans of Rancid all shouted along to every lyric as kids crowd-surfed overhead.
Although short and sweet, Scallywag San Diego was a smashing, skanking success. Until next year, 91x's Scallywag remains one of San Diego's best punk fests in town. Luckily, to bridge the gap, fans of the radio station can tune in daily or catch one of 91x's many concerts around town (or their regailed holiday fest on the horizon Wrex The Halls)!
Photography by Sean McCracken