“AMOEBAAAAA. AMOEBAAAAA. AMOEBAAAAA. AMOEBAAAA-AAAAH” … is all anyone is going to be shouting after The Adolescents’ Friday night set. What’s funny about these particular ’80s SoCal skate punks is they were better known as the inspiration for better-known punk groups Agent Orange and Social Distortion — and the band that did that one song about amoebas on Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 — than they are for their own accomplishments. But even though they influenced PRB main-stagers like NoFX, this weekend you’ll catch The Adolescents dripping in sweat down at the more intimate The Bunkhouse. (May 25, 9:30 p.m., The Bunkhouse, $15.)
Skiba has one of those voices that will never change and never not be associated with Alkaline Trio. His solo work is markedly softer than his work as part of the Chicago threesome; a Matt Skiba show is not an opportunity to hear 1998’s Goddamnit in its heavy “Cringe” and “Clavicle” glory. This is the older, more mature Skiba. This particular Skiba lives on the West Coast. This Skiba and “friends” sound more like the Alkaline Trio that put out the demure and semi-unplugged Damnesia. The tormented artist is gone. This Skiba makes music for thinking — and it’s friggin’ gorgeous. (May 26, 10:30 p.m., Beauty Bar, $15.)
At the Country Saloon, a floor above the boom-clack-boom-ba-clack rhythms happening all up and down Fremont Street, Municipal Waste will be turning out grinding, thrashing metal. Which sucks for everyone who isn’t built like a linebacker, because their fans are nutter butters, likely to ignore a pedestrian crowd and lay waste to LVCS’ shiny floor. It’s all in good fun, of course: “Sadistic Magician” just brings out the meathead in people. It’s fast, shouty and unimpeachably ’80s-influenced. Which can be good or bad, depending on how much you weigh. (May 25, 9:30 p.m., LVCS, $15.)
Hot Water Music
While you’ll probably see Chuck Ragan around town throughout the weekend (he’s playing a solo gig at Beauty Bar on Sunday), catch the group for which he’s actually known, Hot Water Music, Monday on the main stage. With HWM’s first album since 2004 out this month, Ragan’s at his forlornly raspiest, the kind of voice that sounds like it’s on its way to Tom Waits territory (give “Drag My Body” a listen). But most PRB patrons will be there for the 2002 album Caution. They’re coming for the Ragan/Chris Wollard head-to-head. Or they might be coming solely to hear “Trusty Chords.” Which we’d understand all the same. (May 28, 2 p.m., Festival Main Stage, $40)
The PRB folks booked a solid reason for festivalgoers to arrive at downtown by doors-open on Monday: Union Hearts from Sacramento, Calif. If they would’ve been around in 1995, they would’ve been our pick for the Empire Records soundtrack, during a scene that either involves a drug freakout or someone running away from whatever high school kids run from (“Losing Skin” from the Strange Club EP being the most specific example). It’s self-examining punk rock with a little pop to make it brighter and nonabrasive, but with just enough teeth to make it worthy of its festival peers. The crazy part: These guys haven’t been around for a year yet, and still don’t have a full-length. (May 28, 2 p.m., Festival Main Stage, $40.)
Can we give it up for the local guys? Old-school punks The Vermin and new-school/ska-punks Holding Onto Sound both landed gigs on the festival. The Vermin play Friday, supporting The Adolescents at the Bunkhouse. HOTS performs Saturday on the main stage, opening (loose use of the word) for NoFX.