There's a bit of irony in San Francisco's inaugural effort to host an all-American version of the U.K.'s infamous Holidays in the Sun punk rock festival. The three-day extravaganza takes place on the high-school auditorium stage of Maritime Hall -- which is, by most accounts, not the sunniest venue in town in terms of atmosphere and acoustics. But what the Maritime lacks in warm-fuzzies, it more than makes up for with its free-for-all policy on (slam) dancing and mood-altering libations -- a prime example of de facto punk attitude.
Co-sponsored by local rock rag Zero Magazine and S.F. indie label TKO Records, Holidays in the Sun showcases a fine cross-section of 25 years of punk rock, bringing together some of the biggest bands from England's sprawling 100-band megabill with a number of old- and new-school Yankee groups from Boston to the Bay Area. On the "Legends of the U.K." front, thrash pioneers the Exploited bring the noise with requisite heroic bravado (Death Before Dishonour); loud, fast, and virulent, GBH (aka Grievous Bodily Harm) defines the past two decades of British hardcore; and Anti-Nowhere League plays with a convincing post-Pistols shamelessness.
Tickets are $76 for a three-day pass, $32-35 for individual shows
From the stateside old school, dead-serious metal punks Agnostic Front promise to bleed a few eardrums dry. For contrast, inveterate goofballs the Dickies, L.A. cult favorites since the days of Black Flag, sacrifice cultural icons (Disney, Black Sabbath) on the altar of kooky sarcasm. And for the best of the new school -- don't call 'em punk revivalists or neo-punks -- see Flipside favorites U.S. Bombs. Finally, be sure to check out S.F.'s the Forgotten, a slamming band that writes smart tunes with a passion for defiance -- because punk, after all, is revolution.