Well alright! It’s time to head out to Las Vegas for my annual Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival visit. I’m writing this report as more of an archive for myself, but I thought I would share it with y’all as well. I’ll try and keep it as short as possible as it’s not a typical TR.(it didn't end up short, sorry). Wed. 5.22 Red eye flight out of AUS on SWA, no delays, touched down in LAS just after 7am. Hopped a Beltrans shuttle downtown for $8.50, waited about 10 min for the shuttle, and I was the only passenger. Quick trip downtown to The D, where I’d be spending the next 6 nights. Check-in area is empty, and they have no problems accommodating my request for a low floor near the elevator, nor the check-in at around 7:45am. Stayed in room 508, standard two queen bed, which sits right above the stage on Fremont. Loud? Yes. But, I shouldn't have to worry, as I don't plan on being back to my room prior to whatever shenanigans will be going on down there. I think they had some 90’s rock bands playing over the weekend. Overall, the room was the same as my last two visits to a renovated room with the exception of a new low-flow toilet that has been installed. The flow isn’t the only thing that is low about this toilet, as it sits really low. I don’t believe that they’ve got these in all the rooms, as I checked out a couple other rooms where friends were staying and they had the standard shitter. This alternate toilet would definitely pose an issue with mobility. I know I’m being nit-picky, but the other issue I had with this fucking toilet was that the towel rack extended above the toilet. Now, I’m 6’1”, and I’m bending over to flush this thing, and then smacking my head on the towel bar above the toilet. It ended up being pretty annoying. Other than that, had my usual sewage backup into the toilet, which seems to happen at least once every visit. It doesn't bother me, I’ve been staying at this place for years. Now, the reason for the request for the low floor is this: The D has 4 shitty elevators. They are slow, and they break down. The hotel was sold out over the weekend, and I wanted to be able to walk the stairs in the event that the elevators broke down(which happened twice during my stay). Even when all 4 elevators are working, on a busy night, it’s not uncommon to wait over 5 minutes to get an elevator to your floor, only to find it filled to the brim. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend my vacation waiting for an elevator. After getting settled, I decided to head down to the Main Street Station Buffet for a quick breakfast. I’m not a super huge fan of this place, but I wanted an excuse to walk down Fremont. There’s no crowd this Wednesday morning, and I get in quick. Grab a Chicken Fried Steak w/Gravy, some fruit, coffee and OJ. Good service, overall an efficient breakfast transaction. After Breakfast I stroll back down Fremont to The D casino and do a little gambling. The weather was beautiful this entire trip, and morning walks were pretty fantastic. Over at the D, sat down at the long bar to play a little Bonus Poker. It’s my understanding that the pay tables are shitty at the long bar. I’ll just be honest. I don’t give a shit about pay tables. I enjoy the scenery, the chatter with strangers and bullshitting with the bartenders. If I’m looking to make money, I’ll collect a check from my employer. I did, however, manage to pull a couple 4oak(aces and 5’s) as well as several mid-level hands at the .50 level. The conversation was great, the drink service was prompt, and the music wasn't too loud. Then again, it’s about 10am, and I’m already a few Vodka Presses Deep. After some play at the long bar, I wonder over to the bank of vp near the check-in area, and have a couple more drinks at quarter level. The drink service on the floor was fantastic as well, with the waitresses coming over before the previous cocktail had been consumed. As I’m playing, and wandering The D, I’m also noticing that they are keeping the gaming area really clean. Everything is wiped down, no ashes/cigarettes/drinks laying anywhere. This was the theme through Memorial Day weekend, even when packed. The employees were also really friendly. Several employees stopped by while I was gaming on the floor just to chat. It was nice. By late afternoon I’m about 8 cocktails deep, and decide it’s time to grab something to eat before heading out for the evening. I stop over at Micky Finzz and have a seat at the outside bar. This place doesn't have the best food, but I like sitting outside here. I order the crab cake sliders and shrimp cocktail, along with two rum runners. Total was about 33 bucks before tip. I’d rate this place pretty average, yet I stop here almost every visit. I do enjoy a fruity cocktail every now and again. Tonight I’d be heading over to see a band at the Backstage Bar and Billiards. The venue sits right on east Fremont street. After a quick triple s, I head over to the venue. BBB is on the smallish side for a venue, and it’s outfitted with bench seating along the wall, a bar with some very uncomfortable road cases for bar stools, and the rest is standing room. The sound quality on this room is not on par with a place that was built for live music, but the band was good. Not officially a part of the Punk Rock Bowling shows, but a buddy of mine happens to handle the bands gear, so I thought I’d go see them play and say hello. After the show, we head over to the El Cortez for a few drinks at the casino bar. This place smells worse than ever. Almost unbearable for me, and I enjoy piss hole bars. It appears they’re trying to pump a new scent into the place that is almost choking. It smells like very flowery perfume mixed with an icy hot/bengay type medicine. I was pretty liquored up at this point and decided to suck it up. We did a few rounds of PBR and tequila shots, and then headed over to the bar in the front west corner at the Four Queens. There was a lively bunch there, had a few more rounds/shots, and I think I ended up calling it a night around 1am. …or do I? I swing by American Coney Dog for a Gyro. I know this place has mixed reviews, but I really dig it. The Gyro is loaded with flesh, the pita is soft, and it’s tasty, and it’s cheap. This would be the first of several visits to American Coney. Okay. Now I end my night. Thursday 5.23 God, I love the beds at The D. Slept in til about 8:30 am with a mildly nagging hangover and decide to head over to meet a friend from town over at Hash House at the Plaza for Breakfast. I was surprised to get instant seating on a Thursday. Had the BLT Bloody Mary and the Meatloaf Hash. The Bloody was tasty, and served with a packet of mayo, a mini texas toast and a slab of bacon and some lettuce. I made myself a little drunken sandwich while I waited for the meatloaf hash. The meatloaf was decent, nothing spectacular about it, but it did the trick. Parted ways with pal after breakfast and then something weird happened. I walk into Mermaids. I don’t know why, but I decided to walk in and check it out. I sit down at a Monkees penny slot and put in a 5er to do a little people watching, and next thing ya know, I’ve got cocktail waitresses coming at me like strippers at a titty bar. WARNING: THIS PLACE WILL FUCK YOU UP! I swear, I play on this 5er for a good two hours, and I can’t finish a drink before they bring another. At one point, I had to argue with the cocktail waitress to stop bringing me drinks, which yielded her bringing me not only another drink, but some apple shot as well. This is the extent of my memory of this visit. I don’t know exactly when I got there, but I can tell you that I woke up in my room with an untouched coney dog on the nightstand at 4PM feeling pretty damn good. I considered shoving that dog down my gullet, but decided against it and went over to Red Sushi at the Golden Nugget. While Red Sushi isn’t great by any means, but it’s fresh, and not a bad area for sitting/people watching during happy hour. Prices for happy hour are decent, and I have a spicy tuna roll, a salmon roll, a glass of sake and a ketel one dirty martini and my check was 33 bucks. Not too shabby. I spend the rest of the evening playing the silly slots at The D. I ended up with a pretty good hit on the Cheers Machine. Sam Malone paid me 350 bucks on a heavily covered board of spins. I also did pretty well on an older machine that has a little devil on it. I couldn’t tell ya what it’s called, but it has random bonuses like that Mr. Cashman machine. I think by the end of the night I was up about 500, which is not bad since this isn’t a gambling trip. I think I head upstairs around 1am. The punkers are starting to infiltrate the streets of Fremont, and the shows start tomorrow. Friday 5.24 This is where the report will be mostly boring to all of you. It’s a lot of non-Las Vegas nonsense. I’ll try and keep it brief. Friday morning, went to The D grill for breakfast at about 9am. The Grill has pretty good food, but considering how dead it is every time I’ve eaten here, the service is slow. REALLY SLOW. I do love how the servers always have a cute little excuse for why it takes so long. It’s always some sob story with the chef. Regardless, I had the Crab Cake Benny, and it was pretty killer. Much better than the crab cakes at Micky Finnz. My first round of friends get in at 1pm, so I bum around and wait for the kids to get to town. I make a stopover at Las Vegas Jerky and load up on various dried meats to take home. If you haven’t checked out this place, you should. If it’s dried, you can get it here. 1PM Rolls around, and two of the weekend suspects show up. Then another. Then another. We head up to the VUE Bar on the 2nd floor and have several rounds of drinks until everyone else shows up. At this point things get pretty sloppy, and we decide to have dinner at the D Grill since it’s pissing distance from the bar. This time I have the blue cheese and bacon burger, and it’s drunken great. So, about 10 drinks deep, and we start to split up to go see our show selections for the evening. A few of us head over to the Las Vegas Country Saloon, which is upstairs from Hennessy’s. Time to see The Lawrence Arms, Nothington and NO///SE. If you can avoid this place, I would do so. 9 bucks for a PBR tall boy. The acoustics in this room were horrible, but we all managed to have a blast. The Staff here are a bunch of shitheads too. After the shows, about 3am, we all meet back up at the VUE Bar, and it’s pretty sloppy. We have a couple more cocktails and some people start to fade. Me and one of the other guys decide to go hit $10 BJ, and head downstairs at The D to play. This was pretty much my only session for the trip, and it was drunken, and it was winning. We both walked away up about 300 each. We headed back down Fremont and had a nite cap at the Four Queens before retiring. Sat 5.25 Okay, so I remember getting up on the early side of things, about 9ish, and a couple of the other kids are up as well, so we decide to go get some breakfast. They want to do Hash House, but there was over an hour wait, so we go grab a seat at the mostly empty sushi restaurant next door. Service here is extremely slow…so slow that they comped us a round of drinks, at which point I’m having a long island. I opt for the Traditional Hawaiian Breakfast, which was a hamburger patty, a slice of spam, a couple cuts of a sausage link, a couple eggs over easy, and macaroni salad. It was all covered with a brown gravy, and it was delicious. We paid the check and headed up to the Plaza pool to catch Jesse Wagner from the Aggrolites play a solo set. The Plaza pool is on the 5th floor. Upon entering a pool area, I thought to myself, “If prison had a pool, this is what it would look like.”. Large open area with whitewashed concrete floors, and a pool right in the middle. Little to no shade. Parted ways with my traveler friends as they wanted to bum around Fremont, and met up with some local friends. The set was pretty awesome, and we hustled over to the Gold Spike pool to catch The Inciters set. Made it right on time, where I’m feeling pretty good about life after several long islands and a few beers. I proceed to buy a couple security guards shots, because I’m generous like that, and we toast a Jamison before the set. The Inciters are a great Northern Soul band, if you’re into that kinda thing, check ‘em out. After The Inciters set, we get an invite to a hotel party over at the El Cortez, so we walk over and stop at the gift shop for a bottle of Jim Beam, and head up to the room. I can’t tell you much after this, but I know that we were at the end of a hallway, with several room doors open, music blasting and lots of coolers of beer. Had a great time for a couple hours hanging out with old friends, and making new ones. I’m not sure what time I finally strolled from the El Cortez, but I do remember waking up around 8pm in my room. Grabbed a shower and headed down to Micky Finnz for a couple rum runners to wake up, and then headed over to the Backroom Bar and Billiards to see The Debonaires, The Bullets and The Untouchables. Had a blast listening to a bunch of top notch rocksteady, ska and reggae, and soul, and then met up with some friends who wanted to head over to Dino’s on Las Vegas Blvd for some Karaoke. Had a few drinks, a few laughs, and finally cabbed it back to the room pretty damn late for me. I want to say, 5am or so. The D’s beds are brought to you by Serta, but I’m not sure how my legs brought me to The D. Goodnight! Sunday 5.26 Is it time to go home yet? Get up around 10am and meet up with my only pal awake for some food at D Grill. I have the slider sampler and French onion soup. Both pretty killer. My pal heads back to room, and I have a couple bloody mary’s at the longbar and a short vp session with nothing to show. Today would be the first Punk Rock Bowling Day show I hit, but I wasn't planning to head to the dusty lot on 7th until later in the day, so I nap for an hour and have another shower. Head downstairs, and meet up with a few friends who want to hit Red Sushi for happy hour. Head over to the GN, and Red is pretty empty. We grab a row of seats. This time I have the seaweed salad, spicy tuna roll and the pork belly skewers. The Pork Belly was some of the worst I’ve had…way too dry. Everything else was fine. Washed it down with a couple sake bombs and a dirty martini. After happy hour, we head over to the day show. Punk Rock Bowling has 3 daytime shows, which host about 20 bands each. I'm no spring chicken anymore, so I can't stand out in the sun listening to 20 crusty bands all day. We get there in time to catch The Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion. Good sets, cheap drinks for a festival. Tonight I’d be going to see Pulley and Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. Doors aren’t until 11, so me and another fella head over to the lounge in the El Cortez for some Vodka Press and entertaining karaoke by enthusiastic punkers. After a couple there, for some reason we decide to walk over to the Piano bar on Fremont, Don’t Tell Mama. The bartender there was a waste of space. Horrible service, and screwed up our drink order. Headed out of there in a hurry, and parted ways. We were all going to separate shows that evening. I headed over to Las Vegas Country Club, and waited in line for 45 minutes to get in, and the opener was still playing around 12:30. Pulley went on at 1am, and had an excellent set. I overheard that Me First wasn’t going to hit the stage until 3am, and I decided that I’d rather call it a night. High Tailed it out of the club, headed to American Coney for a Loose Burger, and hit the sack. Monday 5.27 Happy Memorial Day! Met a few folks downstairs where a couple people in the Party wanted to go eat at Hennessey’s. Not a fan of this place, but went over there for the company. I had the Ahi Poke Salad, and ordered kettle chips and onion rings for the table. Food was shit. Service was shit. Drinks were shit. The salad was undressed, and the waitress looked at me when I was nuts when I asked her if there was anything she had back there to moisten the really dry greens. 20 min later she comes out with a thimble of soy sauce. We grab the check, and everyone decides that they want to go down to Mermaids to get drinks forced down their throat. We all head down there, and proceed to go through quite a few drinks. I make the bad decision on getting a frozen long island from the bar, and get through about half of it before I’m rescued by a couple other folks in our party, who take me over to 777 at Main Street for some food. Seasonal at 777 is a Mango Hefe, which was nice and light. I also had a half dozen oyster shooters and the taco salad. Large portion as usual, great waitress, good experience. Always dig my time at this place. After dinner, we head back to Mermaids for a few drinks, and then head over to the festival to catch the last band: FLAG. FLAG, being members of Black Flag, with Keith Morris taking the job on vocals. The show was pretty incredible, and a great way to top off the weekend. After the show, the few of us who could still stand made are way back to The D for an amazingly great time at the Sigma Derby Table. Some of my local friends met up, and we met some new friends as we all cheered on the plastic horses into the night. At about 2am, we decided to wrap it up, stopped at American Coney and took it up to our rooms with promises of breakfast in the morning before everyone leaves. Final Day Tuesday 5.28 I wake up in the morning to a mountain of text messages…”Not making breakfast”. I knew that would happen. Bummed around in the room for a bit, and headed down to the D Grill for my final vegas breakfast. Had the Crab Cake Benny again, and sat there listening to the stories of the weekend at the tables all around me. It was peaceful and relaxing, yet the “end of trip depression” was settling in a bit. After Breakfast, I took one last walk down Fremont dipping in a few casinos and dropping a 20 here and there, just taking in the sites. Headed back up to the room to get my shit around 11am, and checked out to an empty desk. Took the RTC from Casino Center to the Airport. WAX Westlake/Airport I belive. Pro Tip: The Machines at the stop sell passes but not single tickets. Make sure you have a couple singles to give the driver for the ride out. Loved it! 2 bucks, about 40 minutes. Super convenient. I’ll be doing this from now on. Ended up at the airport and through security about 2.5 hours early, and took advantage of the free wi-fi to prepare myself for the work week ahead. Okay, so this ended up a lot longer than I thought! I hope a few of you got a little something out of this. My brain still isn’t 100% back in the game, so I’m going to forgive myself now for the poor writing and grammatical garbage that I’ve thrown in here. I'm sure I've missed a few things, and misplaced a few things, but that's bound to happen. Punk Rock Bowling is always my favorite trip to Las Vegas, and I can't wait until next year when I get to hang out with all my old friends that I’ve known forever, and the new ones that I make each year. Here’s to your next trip to Las Vegas, and making it your best ever!