With the sun blazing down on the Pomona Fairgrounds, the stage was set for a blistering, sweat-soaked spectacle that could only be described as a punk rock pilgrimage. This festival, boasting a once-in-a-lifetime lineup, summoned legends and torchbearers alike, from The Original Misfits and Social Distortion’s seismic pairing to the enduring ferocity of Iggy Pop and Turnstile. The likes of Bad Religion and Sublime kept the torch burning bright, while The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s return and Power Trip‘s poignant resurgence after Riley Gale’s passing added a raw, emotional heft to the day’s proceedings. A pantheon of punk stalwarts, including Suicidal Tendencies, Viagra Boys, The Damned, and Black Flag, ensured that the festival paid due homage to its roots, all while the inimitable Jello Biafra spun the soundtrack to an unforgettable day. No Values was not just a festival; it was a testament to the enduring, unbreakable spirit of punk.

The venue was packed with 4 Band Stages and a DJ Stage that were packed all day. No less than 42 bands raged the stages and another 6 DJs kept that area rocking. The audio quality was impressive in what felt like a relatively small area.  I had expected more audio overflow as these are not tame bands, but the setup worked really well with one set ending while another started on the adjoining stage.  It was packed enough that it getting good spots for more than a handful of bands on different stages was going to be challenging.  The main stage “Holt Ave” featured the majority of the top bands with “Mission Blvd” and “Garey Ave” following behind them with a barrage of great acts. “2nd Street Stage” featured newer bands in a showcase of shorter sets in the 30 min range.  Flowing in between were a bevy of food and drink vendors and the selections were pretty impressive. Easily one of the more organized and well-run events I have been to.  The staff in the front of the stage handed out water to the folks who had waited hours to get to the front and weren’t likely to leave to stay hydrated.  With people tempted to spend a full day drinking and moshing, the crowd was really well behaved and everyone had a thrashing good time.

I had planned to start my day with the Cro-Mags but I got caught in the parking lot mosh, which was about an hour longer than I had anticipated, so I bolted over to “Mission Blvd” Stage to catch The Adolescents who have been pivotal architects of Orange County punk rock and are celebrating their 44th anniversary as a band with the release of their new album, Caesar Salad Days. Formed in January 1980 in Fullerton, CA, The Adolescents (still featuring original member Tony Reflex) are as fiery today as ever before. Caesar Salad Days features 15 tracks of aggressive hardcore punk that the band has always been known for. Loud, fast rules! The 5 piece band had a solid stage presence with Guitarists Dan Root, and Ian Taylor setting the pace for their driving set. Mike Cambra’s thundering drums and Brad Logan’s bass work kept the audience moshing from the first song “No Way” which harkened back to their 1981 self-titled first album.



I wanted to get a sense of all of the stages, so I wandered over to the “Gary Ave” Stage to catch The Bronx.  Oddly not from the Bronx, the band is a local LA group that has been rocking the scene for two decades. The band’s current lineup consists of vocalist Matt Caughthran, guitarists Joby J. Ford and Ken Horne, bass guitarist Brad Magers, and drummer Joey Castillo who also spends some quality time behind the kid of another great punk band, The Circle Jerks   The sets on the smaller stages were limited to just 30 mins so the bands barely had a chance to thrash before it was time to go.



Next up on the “2nd St Stage” was Mourning Noise! Founded and fueled by legendary drummer Steve Zing of Samhain and Danzig fame, Mourning Noise exploded onto the scene in the early ’80s, brandishing the torch of Misfits-styled gothic horrorcore before an abrupt hiatus in 1984. Now, 40 years later, the band is storming back with a vengeance. Original bassist Chris Morance and lead guitarist Tommy Koprowski are joined by the ferocious new guitarist and lead vocalist Robby Bloodshed, ready to reignite their unrelenting, raw power. Their performance at the No Values Festival was nothing short of electrifying, with Bloodshed prowling the stage shirtless and strutting with rage, proving that their dark, aggressive energy remains as potent as ever, leaving both old fans and new converts in awe.



“If you don’t know who the fuck we are, you’re about to find out,” grins Scowl’s vocalist Kat Moss, just before the California hardcore band unleashes a slinking instrumental that erupts into pure, untethered rage, igniting a sprawling circle pit. Moss looks sweet and innocent till she opens her mouth to rip into tracks like ‘Shot Down’ and ‘Bloodhound’ showcasing her hard, fast, and frantic style, while the playful ‘Fuck Around’ blends stop/start fury with physical fun. Kat takes a moment to express gratitude, inviting the crowd to dance to ‘Psychic Dance Routine,’ the melodic title track from their latest EP, which balances their intense sound with a colorful twist. Alongside bands like Militarie Gun, Scowl represents a new wave of hardcore, opening the scene to a new generation of fans. Their powerful set at the No Values Festival not only solidified their loyal fanbase but also converted skeptics into new followers by the end of their unforgiving, exhilarating performance.



Next up, taking the “Gary Ave Stage”, Philadelphia’s hardcore powerhouse Soul Glo proved they’re rebuilding their fire after a tumultuous period. Despite losing momentum with the departure of long-time guitarist Ruben Polo amidst serious allegations, the band has continued on and is raging better than ever. The launched into ‘Rolling Loud, Hear My Cry,’ igniting a frenzied, yet wholesome, circle pit. On record, Soul Glo is ferocious, but live, they transform into an untamed beast, with frontman Jordan pacing the stage like a stern personal trainer, and Guitarist GG Guerra demanding more intensity. They eschewed stage banter for ethereal electronic noise, only breaking the silence to deliver a powerful message about the illusion of freedom in the United States before launching into their final anthem, ‘Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?).’ Soul Glo intertwined the personal and political, challenging societal apathy and gun violence with blistering riffs and poignant lyrics, leaving an indelible mark as they demanded change through their relentless performance.



Formed in 1976, Greg Ginn‘s hardcore pioneers Black Flag revolutionized punk by upping the tempo and infusing it with a heavier, more powerful sound, reminiscent of early heavy metal yet rooted in the ’60s garage scene. Their socially and politically aware lyrics influenced a wave of hardcore punk bands, leaving an indelible mark on the genre. New lead vocalist Mike Vallely is more known as a pro skateboarder than a frontman, so I was a bit apprehensive, but all that fell away as they launched into their first track “Jealous Again”. Black Flag’s set alone justified the price of admission. Braving the heat, the Hermosa Beach outfit delivered a high-adrenaline performance with classics like “Can’t Decide,” “Wasted,” “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie,” and “Black Coffee.” The crowd hit a fever pitch during “Six Pack,” “Loose Nut,” and “Black Coffee,” showcasing the band’s undying energy despite changes over the years. Black Flag remains as fierce as ever, with Ginn’s unorthodox guitar work highlighting why he’s one of punk rock’s finest. The set closed triumphantly with “Rise Above” and a raucous cover of “Louie Louie,” leaving the audience with memories to cherish for years.



The rest of my day was spent bouncing between the “Mission Blvd” and “Holt Stages” as the crowds had swelled and the heat had reached that scorching level.  One of the bands I was really excited about was Dillinger’s Escape Plan. Their 25th-anniversary celebration of Calculating Infinity officially kicked off at No Values Festival. When they hit the stage at 3:40 it was the band’s first performance since their hiatus in 2017, and it reunited founding guitarist Ben Weinman with original singer Dimitri Minakakis for the first full gig together since Minakakis left in 2001. Joining them on stage were Dillinger alumni Liam Wilson (bass), James Love (guitar), and Billy Rymer (drums). While their upcoming New York City shows will feature a complete performance of the 1999 debut album Calculating Infinity, the No Values set offered a broader look at DEP’s early chaotic era. Tracks flike “Destro’s Secret” and “43% Burnt” were complemented by selections from their 1997 self-titled debut EP and 1998’s Under the Running Board. Minakakis delivered an intense performance, even joining in a cover of Dead Kennedys’ “California Über Alles” with Dead Kennedys’s vocalist Jello Biafra. The band also thrilled the crowd with a hardcore rendition of Minor Threat’s “In My Eyes,” featuring Weinman’s Suicidal Tendencies bandmate Mike Muir on vocals.  I just missed out on Minakakis breathing fire as I was rushing to the other stage to catch the next band.



The Garden‘s performance at No Values was a whirlwind of energy and chaos, even though they eschewed their previous jester-like makeup, which was slightly disappointing for me. The lineup announcement had polarized fans, with some loving The Garden’s inclusion while others felt the two-person band was an odd fit among punk and hardcore icons. As Wyatt and Fletcher Shears took the stage, their contrasting looks—Wyatt with stark black hair and Fletcher with bleach blonde—highlighted their individual artistic journeys. Launching into “What Else Could I Be But a Jester,” the crowd erupted into headbanging and self-incited mosh pits. Their set was relentless with Fletcher making epic leaps from the massive drum riser, all the while playing tracks like “Horsesh*t on Route 66” with intense precision. For a two-piece band, they really had a deep sound. Despite the initial skepticism, The Garden’s performance proved their ability to captivate and electrify the crowd, delivering a perfect taste of their Orange County punk sound.



The Damned‘s performance at No Values was a historic and electrifying experience, as the iconic British punk rock band reassembled their classic lineup for the first time in thirty-five years.  The great thing about No Values was the chance for younger fans to get introduced to some of these iconic bands live in one day.  Hearing the music versus seeing it live performed by the original members is so different. Kicking off with the Doctor Who theme, Captain Sensible, and the band delivered a 40-Min set filled with punk anthems like “Plan 9 Channel 7,” “Wait For The Blackout,” and “Machine Gun Etiquette.” The band’s dynamic stage presence, highlighted by Captain Sensible’s humor and keyboardist Monty Oxymoron‘s energetic performance, kept the crowd enthralled. Standout moments included “Life Goes On,” introduced by Dave Vanian with a personal anecdote, and the playful “Beware Of The Clown.” The Damned also delighted fans with their rendition of “Eloise” and new tracks like “The Invisible Man.” They closed with punk classics “New Rose,” “Neat Neat Neat,” and “Smash It Up,”. This unforgettable set showcased The Damned’s enduring legacy and unmatched prowess in punk rock.



Next up was one of the true highlights of the day.  Suicidal Tendencies brought together metalheads and punks of all ages, spanning generations, and united in their anticipation of witnessing one of the most influential bands in hardcore punk and thrash metal history. With over 40 years of hardcore and thrash metal jams under their belt, Suicidal Tendencies showed no signs of slowing down. Trying to capture their energy through my lens proved to be a challenge, with Mike Muir‘s constant movement across the stage. It was a testament to his enduring Cyco spirit. Ty Trujillo‘s was clearly channeling his father Robert on bass, and we can expect huge things from this young man.  Seeing Jay Weinberg without his Slipknot mask and Ben Weinman‘s manic energy on guitar added to the frenzy.  The chaos inherent in hardcore punk and thrash metal was alive and well in Suicidal Tendencies’ performance, and the mosh pit had people flying over my head every few moments, so it was full contact photography, making it one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever witnessed. If you ever get the chance to see them live, don’t miss it.



Following an epic showcase at Coachella I was bolting over to the “Mission Blvd” stage to get there for the 6pm start of Sublime, Jakob Nowell stepped into his father’s shoes, fronting Sublime before a massive crowd, marking a significant moment for fans of the legendary ska group. With Bradley Nowell‘s tragic passing in 1996 just 11 months after Jakob’s birth, the band disbanded just as they were becoming a phenomenon. Now nearly 30 years later, his son has taken on his role, accompanied by original members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson. Opening with the iconic “Date Rape,” Jakob channeled his father’s punk charisma, leading the band through hits like “Ball and Chain,” “Pool Shark,” and “Right Back,” stirring the audience into a spirited skanking frenzy, most of these songs haven’t been played live since 1996.” This performance held special significance as Gaugh and Wilson joined Jakob on stage, evoking a poignant sense of continuity, especially considering Jakob’s age, mirroring his father’s when he passed. Sublime’s revival, with Jakob Nowell, resonated deeply with fans who had awaited this moment for decades, culminating in an emotional rendition of “Santeria” as the sun dipped below the bleachers.  An hour or so later just before the Turnstiles hit the same stage, Jakob bounced out into an area filled with Sublime fans to get up close and personal, taking selfies and thanking the crowd for coming out.  The kid has a great vibe and really shines while on stage.  His dad would be proud.



Bad Religion, the gold standard of politically informed punk, took the stage, showcasing their 40-year career with pitch-perfect precision and the enduring boyish charm of frontman Greg Gaffin‘s voice. Their 15-song setlist spanned their illustrious career, evoking nostalgia for a crowd that first heard them at 14 and now navigated the pit at 40. As they launched into “Los Angeles Is Burning,” the mosh pit which had paused for water and IcyHot kicked back into high gear, and Bad Religion refused to relent, maintaining their relentless energy as they have for decades. Closing with the same fervor they exhibited in ’96, they left the Pomona Fair skyline resonating with passion and leftist ideologies, culminating in a powerful version of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town” 



Turnstile brought the hardcore spirit to the expansive outdoor stage, infusing it with their unique brand of energy and inclusivity. With aggressive guitars from Pat McCroy and Greg Cerwonka layered over driving rhythms by Franz Llyons and Daniel Fang, they electrified the crowd, capturing the essence of hardcore venues in a grand setting. Vocalist Brendan Yates defied convention, eschewing typical frontman bravado for a more carefree demeanor, inviting the audience to join him in his exuberance. Sparse stage banter didn’t diminish his enthusiasm; rather, his expressive stage presence radiated youthful joy, setting a tone of invitation and inclusion. In a genre often associated with exclusivity, Turnstile’s approach to performance embodies the true spirit of punk and hardcore, welcoming all to join in the celebration.



I was excited to photograph the legend Iggy Pop, but sadly photographers were not allowed to cover Iggy or The Misfits. The upside to a giant festival is that there are always another band to catch.  

Social Distortion took the stage at 8:30 with a set that packed a punch, delivering 13 songs in a tight timeframe. They commanded the stage with an unwavering presence, punctuating their set with raw energy and poignant moments. Despite Mike Ness‘s triumphant return after battling tonsil cancer was evident in his powerful vocals and energetic presence. Before launching into “Tonight,” Ness acknowledged the diverse crowd, remarking on the intergenerational appeal of their music. The camaraderie among fans was palpable, the mosh pits were aggressive but everyone was looking out for each other, picking up a fallen thrasher rather than letting them get trampled. As they delved into classics like “Mommy’s Little Monster,” “The Creeps,” and “1945,” Social Distortion held the audience captive, proving their status as punk rock pioneers. Throughout the night, they showcased their versatility with tracks like “Lude Boy” and “Over You,” each song resonating with gritty honesty. Closing the show with their rendition of “Ring of Fire,” Social Distortion encapsulated a mix of joy, intensity, and love, leaving the audience with a lasting impression of their enduring punk rock legacy.



Skipping out on the two headliners I headed back to the “Gary Ave Stage” to close out my day with Viagra Boys

As I got there I was able to catch the last couple of songs of Power Trip and I really wish I saw more.  A visceral performance with more of a Metal edge than punk.  Definitely putting them on my list.  The stage was cleared for the post-punk/dance-punk act Viagra Boys from Stockholm, the anticipation in the air was palpable. Formed in 2015, the band boasts an impressive discography spanning three albums, including their latest release, 2022’s critically acclaimed Cave World. With the crowd screaming in excitement, the band emerged one by one, kicking off their electrifying set with “Ain’t No Thief”. From the outset, the energy and chaos reached unparalleled levels, fueled by Oskar Carls‘s saxophone wails and the band’s relentless rhythm. The set predominantly featured tracks from their latest album, including standout performances of “Slow Learner” and “Punkrock Loser,” during which frontman Murphy shed layers, baring his torso tattoo collection as he prowled the stage, dropping his pants to show off more than most would have liked. Surprising yet fitting was the inclusion of “Secret Canine Agent”, delivered with Murphy’s frantic style that captivated the audience with its absurd yet effective message. As the main set culminated with standout tracks like “Troglodyte,” “Sports,” and culminating in “Research Chemicals,” the chaos inherent in a Viagra Boys performance was undeniable, blending loud, abrasive punk with a finesse that set them apart. Unlike the harsh aggression of some post-punk acts, Viagra Boys exude a carefree attitude, embracing their unique sound with an infectious dance-like quality that leaves a lasting impression on all who witness their chaotic brilliance.



The Inaugural “No Values Festival” was a massive success.  The chaos and insanity of a massive punk rock festival could have gone a completely different direction, but Goldenvoice which also runs Cruel World, Splash House, Stagecoach, and Coachella has it down to a science.  They get that experience is as important as the music.  The assortment of food truck eats, TONS of bars, water stations, bathrooms and a ton of medical and support services really showcase that they have done the work to create a great music experience … for the whole family.  I say that as I didn’t expect to see as many kids come to see a Punk show, but it was definitely a family affair.  10 out of 10 for the whole event.







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