The last day of the Gainesville fest was a lot more laid back and subdued, at least for me (no booze). My feet and knees were killing, and there’s only so many smell fat dudes with beards you can be around (feel free to insert a picture of a bot and a kettle here). After catching a fun and bouncy set from Armalite (Atom from..”and his Package, the omnipresent Dan Yemin and the Mike McKeen of amateur Party who suffers from a hysterical inferiority complex) I went with Joan to the 2nd St Bakery for some acoustic sets. This was the only club not near any of the others and was the encampment of the crusty kids. There’s nothing like a jackass in an ongoing war with hygene that let’s his dog run around with traffic to piss you off. Please some one tell these jackasses that pets aren;t an accessory to a lifestyle.
Mike Hale sang and played guitar for one of my all-time favorite No Idea bands (Gunmoll) and his current outfit (In the Red) sounds just like them. I was bummed I missed the ITR show during day one of the fest, but did manage to catch his solo act. It wasn’t bad, and “Leatherface Fan” is a near perfect tune, but I wish I could’ve caught a plugged in, full-on band set from this dude, rather than the laid back, everybody sitting down stripped bare acoustic set. Also, there was a terrifying woman who kept scream “I love you” over and over while alternately playing air drums and conducting a symphony with her hands. If you ever read that pieces of Mike Hale were found in the back of an ’89 Le Baron, you have your top suspect. Lost Hands/Found Fingers straddled the line between post hardcore crunchy guitar driven beard rock and doomish metal riffs. Very enjoyable.
My friends and I watched The Draft and Less Than Jake from the bar and couch area. As much as I loved HWM, I’m not sold on the follow up band at all. They sound too much like a band whose sole songwriting purpose is to come up with the theme music for a breakout teen show on the CW. Awesome musicians, but no spark. LTJ played a fun set for kids that absolutely flipped out for them. Not really my thing, but there’s way worse bands to kill an hour watching. To be honest, most of our section was watching the Patriot annihilate the Redskins 52-7, and we were high fiving each other like the Yah Dudes we deep down really are.
Small Brown Bike was the highlight of the fest for me. Getting back together for a short time in order to help a leukemia-stricken childhood friend pay for medical bills, the foursome from Michigan didn’t show any rust. From the moment my friend Joan emailed me to let me know the Bike was playing fest I had a ticket booked. Crushed up to the front of the stage, I spent the better part of an hour yelling myself hoarse to every song. Playing in near cronilogical order, SBB kicked it off with “The Cannons and Tanks” and continued on with “Curiousity Killed the Cat and I’m the Killed” “Zerosum”, “See You In Hell” among others. So many of their songs are about the tight knot bonds of family and long time friendships and what happens when those bonds are threatened or severed. They’ve always played with a sense of urgency and passion, with sweat andstrained vocals. Bassist Ben Reed paced the stage in frentic circles, head bowed, muscles tensed whenever there was a break in his parts, and it was palpable how much he wanted to just get to the next part. Guitarist Travis, a mountain of a man, eschewed the microphone for most of his backup vocals, choosing to lean over the edge of the stage and glare out at the audience as he screamed his head off, daring the crowd to exceed his volume. Every SBB release had a killer closing cut, and for the sets end, the boys played three closing numbers: “Bury You In Me”, with its amazing duel guitar intro and monster riff changes, “Table Four Four” with ultra passionate backup vocals and churning ending, and finally, their signature song, “Make This A Holiday” A perfect end to a fucking great weekend.
Nip and I locked in the dreaded “Velcro beard”
Ok, so I think I’m finally rested and recovered after a long weekend of red eye flights, no sleep, deafening music, alchol and the Red Sox clinching the World Series. Fest 6 was a blast, and I think this event is going to go down as a yearly event.
I missed the first day, even despite my best efforts to barrell down Rte 95S to catch Paint It Black play a two am house show. The consolation price was a steak and rice burrito from Taco Bell and a case of the squirtz.
On to the shows.
Boston’s Ringers (above) played their catchy as all hell singalong punk to a packed and frenzied room at the Common Ground. It was a bit ironic that I flew 5 hours and spent $500 between flight, room and ticket to see a band I can catch for $2 in an Allston basement but what can you do?
The Conniption Fits (above) played spastic, adrenilne fueled early eighties punk rawk, punctuated by the rare three members of a band being mustachioed.Tons of energy from the vocalist, and I generally feared the dude was going to split his head open ashe tumbled off monitors face first and got into handicapped wrestling matches with audience members. Vagina Sore Jr. won Best Band Name and I dug the two songs of shouty pop punk I managed to catch. The Monikers sound like a louder more abbrassive Ted Leo and they were having a blastas froends pelted them with cups and beer.
Bostons Witches With Dicks put on an amazing set. Kids were diving from the first note, jumping off the stage, the railings, even the ice cart, which ended up getting thrown around the crowd. Their set culminated with a smoke bomb going off on stage. Good times.
A bunnch of us old timers ended up catching the Fat Wreck showcase at the very back of a massise venue, named, appropriately, The Venue. It was weird seeing Smoke or Fire playing in front of so many pumped up people, especially after seeing them play for fifty pumped up kids at the Art Space so many Saturday nights all those years ago. The Lawrence Arms were great, and even tossed in two of my favorite Broadways tunes (15 Minutes and The Kitchen Floor). It was definitely odd seeing Avail and D4 a) in such an unintimate environment b) playing songs that are all five to fifteen years old c)from so far in the back. Great sets by both bands though. Patty from D4 filled a fifteen minute gap when a guitar amp went on the fritz with some of the funniest goddamn stage banter I’ve ever heard. Patty knows how to hold court over a crowd.
The other highlight of the first day was the sandwich I had at some little cafe. Containing cream cheese, plantains and pickles on a grilled bread, this was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth, and as a fat kid, you know I’ve put way too many things in my piehole. Below is a picture of some punks and firefighters enjoying a tasty snack break together at this cafe:
Other highlights from the first day include stomping from the venue back to the Side bar with a dozen other Bostonites chanting “Let’s Go Red Sox!” on our way to watch Game 3 with a bunch of other out of towners. While the next group of bands set up we whooped, we slapped hi fives, we drank too much cheap PBR and Sparks and watched the Sox go up three-zip. In between pitches the New Bruises and Dear Landlord sandwiched kickass sets between a pretty meh outing from England’s Four Letter Word. After that we tried hitting up the Paint it Black/Savage Brewtality show at the Common Ground, but the line was around the block as the world’s ugliest group of crusted stunk up the joint for Municipal Waste. I should point out the one negative of the Fest: Most of the venues were zero problems, but the guys at Common Ground sucked. For whatever reason they were’t allowing bags in (though this rule was followed pretty haphazardly as both times I was inside, at least two dozen people were milling about with bags. I swear to God one person was roaming around with a shopping cart. I ended up cramming a camera, my keys, my ipod and my wallet into every available pocket. Also, why have one person card AND give out the bracelets, especially when everything was on a tight schedule, bands only played 20 minute sets and the lines were too long to get in to begin with. If you were trying to catch someone at the Common Ground there was a pretty good shot you went home disappointed.
That’s it for today. i’ll review Sunday tommorow. Check out the picks at the flicker site though.