Fest 17 2018: My first Fest!

After many years of obsessing over lineups and getting recommendations from true punk fans, I finally headed to Gainesville, Florida this year for Fest 17. I also got to tag along with the band Hans Gruber and the Die Hards on their journey to make their debut at Fest. After an early flight from Austin to Savannah, I hitched a ride on their This Flat Earth Tour <—Who knew the Earth was flat? (see video link)

My first show was at Mother’s Pub, which was hosting the Happiest Hour Party Time. It truly lived up to the name and I got my first taste of how the rest of the weekend would go. I got to catch up and coming acts such as the Cold Wrecks, The Ridgelands, Goddamnit, and Hans Gruber and the Die Hards.

The room was packed since the Holiday Inn Pool Party/Officer Bradford’s Jammy Jam was canceled. This happy hour turned into the show to get Fest officially started!

This past year I have had the pleasure of meeting Chris Fox and the members of  Boss’ Daughter. We got to catch their set at the Palamino Pool Hall and it was truly a sight to see. People were jumping on stage and dancing around every inch of that pool hall. If you haven’t been to Boss’ Daughter show, are you even partying? See videos below:

 

 

I saved most of my energy for Saturday and Sunday of Fest. Every morning was a surprise to find out which Mystery bands would be revealed. It is a real “Sophie’s Choice” when deciding which band to see and having to miss one of your other favorite bands.  This isn’t my first music festival where I have had to make similar decisions since I am a South By Southwest veteran at this point. CITY LOGISTICS AND TIMING IS KEY! Since I had missed some artists on Friday, seeing my favorite bands get added to the schedule was a godsend.

The two Mystery bands I caught were Night Birds and Pears on Saturday. Night Birds haven’t left my listening rotation for about 3 years now. I think Mutiny at Muscle Beach is an under-rated masterpiece. I finally got to see them for the second time in my life and that will not be often enough times. Fest also got an added bonus this year from the band Pears. They decided to play their album Go to Prison in full. If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to this record I would highly recommend it especially if you are not familiar with them previously. I think it is a great representation of their musical range as a band. It is an unbelievable debut album and it only gets better from there.

Pears sounds like no other band out there at the moment. I love that they are clever lyrically and are full of rage but in a satirical way. Another fun fact about Pears at Fest is they were supposedly giving away lyrics sheets if someone got a Pears tattoo from the Fest flash sheet. I am one of those crazy people but I got mine on Sunday after they left. Hopefully, I can connect with them when they come back through Texas. Regardless, I got a cool (permanent) Fest souvenir.

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Fest 17 Flash Sheet with my mods

One of my favorite show experiences was getting to see War on Women finally. I have read about them in many online articles but I wanted to see what the hype was really about. The venue was so packed but the performance was stellar. I had listened to an album a few months ago and I expected it to be intense. When I heard the song “Say it”  live, it was absolutely moving. Having a song blatantly state the obvious and jarring reality about rape was emotional but needs to be screamed from the mountains tops. This is a song that definitely reflects the times of this past year. I also got an informative book written by Shawna Porter about creating safe spaces and I look forward to reading it. She was super loving in person and is an absolute treasure to this scene. I am bummed I didn’t get any footage from this show to share.

Later that night after bouncing around with friends, I headed to Bo Diddley Plaza to check out Rozwell Kid. I really like them and have seen them previously. This time around they really impressed me. I think this band will continue to get better and better as their career develops. I was really looking forward to finally catching The Lawrence Arms set. I have missed this band at many festivals over the years and they rarely tour in southern states. Finally getting to seeing the Lawrence Arms was definitely worth the wait.

 

One of the major appeals of Fest for was getting to see Lagwagon perform “Let’s Talk about Feelings” for the 20th anniversary of the album. This album is fun and has great songs such as “Hurry Up and Wait” and “May 16”. It is said that this is Joey Cape’s favorite Lagwagon album but I feel the band would say that about all their records like they were their children. The first Lagwagon record I ever listened to was Double Plaidinum. That will always be my favorite but Let’s Talk About Feelings is my other go-to album. The cover art and the playfulness of the record itself will make you want to listen to it beginning to end. I am glad I got to celebrate this album at Fest 17.

My late show on Saturday was located at Loosey’s Market to check out pop-punk sensations The Dollyrots. A college friend of mine really sweated this band and turned me on to their style. They are not my usual taste in pop punk but the songs are super fun and catchy. You can tell this is Kelly and Louis’ passion and they always have fun on stage. I am glad I finally got to see them live. I got to catch another Mystery Band, which was The Stereo!

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The Dollyrots at Fest 17

This was a reunion for them, which Fest is known for bringing back fan favorites. When I think of power-pop, the Stereo is possibly my favorite. That might have to do with the members being from the Impossibles and Animal Chin. It is like a perfectly formed Fueled by Ramen super band. I feel this secret show was a test run for the bigger Bo Diddly stage but all the super fans showed up for this particular show. I also had the pleasure of running into my favorite podcaster Jeff from the Rockfuel Podcast at this show. See some footage below:

 

Sunday was a random day for new music and crazy hijinks on the final day of Fest. I headed to the tattoo shop Wunderland to see about getting a Fest tattoo. Since there is always a list of people ready to get inked, we headed down to the see The Stereo for an encore performance. I also had the pleasure of meeting the band after their set and they said they are working on a new album!

I was REALLY looking forward to seeing Dollar Signs at Fest for the first time. This band was a hidden gem in my Spotify. I want to send Spotify a literal thank you letter for introducing me to this band. I am bummed they only had a 30 minute set time at the High Dive. Nevertheless, I was determined to enjoy every second and they did not disappoint.

They wore their party shirts, had hoverboards, and the crowd sang every word. I have to say that was one of the best shows at Fest. I look forward to what they will release next. In an ideal world, I would love to see them tour with Jeff Rosenstock. That would be a match made in heaven.

I eventually got my tattoo (see above) and headed back to Bo Diddley Plaza for the last time. I had to see Masked Intruder for the tenth time in my life. This band literally steals my heart since they steal everything else. I sat on the lawn and watched all the crowd surfers fly by. It was a nice way to spend my last evening at Fest. After getting some dinner and my Masked Intruder fix, I headed back to the High Dive. I had been watching The Shell Corporation on Bridge City Sessions on YouTube for the past month.   “Kumbaya” is my official anthem of the year 2018. I had to see it live. Here is some of the song below (buy their albums!) :

This band should get more credit and be a bigger name, which I feel that will come in time. They have a vision and a style that always leaves me wanting more. I ended up staying at the High Dive with my friends to check out The Fad. I hadn’t listened to or thought of this band since the early 2000s. We had a great time dancing to some throwback ska and having some drinks to close our first Fest. It was definitely one for the books.

I know there was a ton I missed out on. If I didn’t have a full day of traveling then I would have been at “the purge”. There is always an awesome band that shows up and there are new friends to be made. I am sad I missed Iron Chic while getting my tattoo. It would have also been cool to experience Pre-Fest or see the wrestling. I just don’t believe you can do everything at Fest. I am sure many of you have tried. I think that might be the beauty of Fest, it is a unique experience every time with new and old friends.

Even though I have been to many shows in Texas and around the country, I have to admit Fest has the best fanbase hands down. Fans come year after year and are a real punk community. I made a lot of new friends and got to see some old good ones while I was there. I hope to make it back to Gainesville for more great memories and to party with my Fest friends.

For more photos and videos from Fest 17 check out my Instagram.

NEVER STOP FESTING FRIENDS!

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Summer 2018: Jawbreaker Reunion Austin

As you can tell from this blog, I love a good reunion show. Jawbreaker is no exception. Austin was lucky enough to get a date added to the reunion tour on July 13, 2018 at the Skyline Theater. Jawbreaker wasn’t always my favorite band. I had to give it several listens. After I started seeing the pattern of the bands that I liked have an affection for Jawbreaker, I started to see the bigger picture.

What also caught my attention was the release of the documentary Don’t Break Down: A Film about Jawbreaker. Seeing all the collective bands and fans of Jawbreaker talk about this moment in time and telling their story of making it brought real light about how life is in a band. Success is defined and showed in different ways. By industry standards, Jawbreaker wasn’t as successful as they wanted. Fans saw something completely different and were hoping for a longer run than they had as a band. Just like any tragic music story, the fallout is the hardest. In the end, the band came to terms and turned it around this year.

In true punk fashion, Riot Fest got a jump on their reunion plans in 2017. Riot Fest has been responsible for hosting a few reunions under their belt and this was no exception. Luckily, this reunion wasn’t short lived and this tour actually happened. At the Austin date, we had local openers Lemuria and A Giant Dog. I definitely believe Lemuria was influenced by a band like Jawbreaker with their introspective lyrics and riffs.

A Giant Dog might be the crown jewel of the current Austin music scene. I am not surprised they opened for sure a high profile show. I am not sure they are completely underneath the umbrella of the punk genre but at the very least you will be entertained by their garage influence.

This was the first show I have seen at this made-up venue. The Long Center is a theatre but doesn’t normally do concerts of this kind. Margin Walker events put on this tour date and built the stage for the Jawbreaker show specifically due to the Mohawk being a smaller more intimate venue in town. It was a cool venue and you could see the whole stage from the hillside. I would like to see this venue set up again for another artist. I would also love to see Jawbreaker again.

Here is the setlist from this date and some videos from this show:

  1. Boxcar
  2. West Bay Invitational
  3. Sea Foam Green
  4. Save Your Generation
  5. Do You Still Hate Me?
  6. Condition Oakland
  7. Chemistry
  8. The Boat Dreams From the Hill
  9. Jet Black
  10. Parabola
  11. Accident Prone
  12. Ache
  13. Sluttering (May 4th)
  14. Housesitter
  15. Kiss the Bottle
  16. Shield Your Eyes

No encore for some weird reason. It was rumored they were going to play Chesterfield King but honestly, it was stupid hot outside so who knows what really happened at the end of the night.

Punk In Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival: Forth Worth

I was super pumped that this tour was even considering coming to Austin. This city has a small but great punk scene, it just doesn’t attract major punk tours like other cities. Unfortunately, there were a lot of sad punks here since the venue decided to pull out of the deal two days before. Whatever your opinion on the matter is, real life happens and everyone lost out on a fun Cinco de Mayo.

Except there was a bit of hope to be had. Let me just start out with why I love punk bands and their devoted fan base. The festival decided that if you lost out on the Austin date that the next tour date was available to ticket holders. They also upped the ante by allowing a free plus one. Did I mention that included a beer tasting as well? If this was some other major label band they would have just refunded the money or rescheduled with some public statement. And yes, there were some issues with tickets and other details. If you were able to take that sweet deal it was definitely worthwhile.

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I was one of the lucky ones from Austin. Plus we got to bring some extra friends that couldn’t afford a ticket or couldn’t make the original date.

The set up was interesting and was at the Panther Island Pavillion park in Fort Worth. You get drink tickets for beer tastings from vendors which set up before the music begins. You get 10 tastings which are equal to about 2 full beers. The selection was half local and half national brewers. It was tough drinking in the hot Texas sun but it was fun hanging out the all the fans before a show. Here’s the lineup:

The first act I caught was the Mad Caddies. I have seen them previously but they are an old favorite. I was excited that they played a couple of new tracks for an album that takes punk songs and makes them ska style. They did a cover of “She” by Green Day which was very fitting for this band. I skipped The Interrupters just because they open for every Hellcat Records tour and I have seen them a thousand times. They are a good band but find them a bit redundant.

The highlight was seeing Bad Religion play Suffer front to back. That is one of the most quintessential punk albums of all time. You could literally see Fat Mike sing the entire album word for word from the side of the stage. That album cover, those lyrics, are absolute perfection every time. They also sprinkled some hits from their vast discography. I honestly have to say they are the highlight of this festival. I think Fat Mike also finds ways to book them on any tour or festival he curates since he feels the same.

 

 

 

NOFX is still NOFX. The small banner and they sometimes can play the songs they write. I think they have an interesting setlist these days. I think they tend to stick to newer albums rather than their hits. I do enjoy First Ditch Effort quite a bit, so this isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. This wasn’t their best set but I am glad that things are on the up and up for NOFX as far as trying new things such as this festival and camp. Here are some highlights from this date and looking forward to September.

 

*** Note from the Editor:

I previously wrote this review before their comments at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas. I was at the festival and will cover the subject in a future piece. Stone Brewery pulled their sponsorship and NOFX was pulled from the remaining festival dates. On their website, they also took off the postponed Austin date.

Show Review: The Distillers

This might be the golden age of punk reunions. The last 5 years have brought several bands out of hiding and back to what they do best. There are several listed throughout this blog even. The Distillers have made the list of much-anticipated reunion tours. With these limited dates, there has been a lot of buzz about each show. Most of the week I have been following their press and fans on their journey.

I got to relive the magic at the Mohawk here in Austin, Texas. They didn’t have any local support bands but they choose the L.A. based band The Flytraps for all the tour dates. You can guess their possible inspirations; The Cramps, Joan Jett and the Runaways, and just old school rock and roll. They were a fun opener. Kind of cheesy but it worked on several levels. Kristin Cooper is an amazing bassist and she is a frontwoman extraordinaire. The one thing I couldn’t figure out was if their guitarists looked bored on purpose or if it was an act. I have to admit it kept me guessing. Their songs were catchy and had some clever subject matter. I will say they were professionals and got people behind their music. They also got a lot of their merch sold, which bands should take note of their hustle.  Even though they were a great opener for this tour, I think a more street punk type of band would have made the tour even sweeter.

The Distillers came out the gate with “I am a Revenant” which would be my top choice for an opening song. Everything they played was pretty much what I wanted to hear. Their discography is not a large one but every album is great. Setlist below:

  1. I am the Revenant
  2. L.A. Girl
  3. Seneca Falls
  4. Die on a Rope
  5. Sick of it All
  6. The Gallow is God
  7. Oh Serena
  8. Dismantle Me
  9. The Hunger
  10. Love is Paranoid
  11. For Tonight You’re Only Here to Know
  12. Drain the Blood
  13. City of Angels
  14. The Blackest Years

They played a little from each album and my favorite had to be “Die on a Rope”. Unfortunately, Brodie’s voice wasn’t 100% at the Austin date. I think this was to be expected on some level since these albums are intense and have real highs/lows vocally. I think the band did their best collectively to make sure the show went on as planned. I thought her voice sounded beautiful in ” The Hunger” which just starts out with just vocals and guitar. One thought I had originally about this tour was Brodie going to able to sing some of this material since it is very personal and haunting. Luckily it seems liked second nature and the band made it seem effortless.  I was also really thankful to see a ton of women at the show because in most scenes the female gender lacks in representation. I think this is a sign that there is a need for more female fronted/minded bands that represent all of us. This short tour makes me hopeful for the future of women in music and to hear some new tracks from the Distillers themselves.

 

Feel free to comment about other dates on this tour or photos/videos!

Where to See Punk at SXSW 2018

You might not associate South by Southwest with punk music since indie rock dominates the festival. Without the Fat Wreck showcase this year, there is a major void to fill. Fear not, we have you covered! I have spent weeks researching a lot of bands heading to Austin for the music conference. Some parties are free and some require wristbands/badges. Here are my top picks for this year:

Local Punk Favorites:

BLXPLTN

Wednesday March 14 at 8:00pm at Cherrywood Coffee House for The 6th Annual UGLYFEST: More Info

Capitalist Kids

Wednesday March 14 at 9:25 pm at Cherrywood Coffee House for The 6th Annual UGLYFEST: More Info

Fight Plan

Thursday March 15 at 10:35 pm at The Liberty for AFHC & FXFY Presents: More Info

Worm Suicide

Thursday March 15 at 10:00pm at Kick Butt Coffee Airport: More Info

Saturday March 16 at 7:25 pm at The Heart of Texas Rockfest: More Info

All-Star Punk Acts

The Dwarves

Saturday March 16 at 11:45 pm at Hotel Vegas for Burgermania VII (Offical SXSW): More Info

Sunday March 17 at 3:30 pm at Hotel Vegas for Burgermania VII (Acoustic Set): More Info

Altercation BBQ

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Saturday March 16 music and comedy starts at 11am: More Info

Life  (If you enjoy British punk)

Friday March 15 at The British Music Embassy at 9:00pm at Latitude 30: More Info

Saturday March 16 at Barracuda Backyard at 11:10pm: More Info

No Parents

Thursday March 15 at 4:25pm at Spiderhouse for Wienermania IV: More Info

Friday March 16 at 1:15 at Pearl St. Co-op for Burger Records: More Info

Saturday March 17 at Hotel Vegas at 10:15pm: More Info

Tissues:  (Female Influenced Post Punk)

Tuesday March 13 at 8:45pm at Barracuda Backyard: More Info

Saturday March 17 at 4pm at The Sidewinder: More Info

Grim Streaker

Friday March 16 at 9:45pm at Barracuda Bar: More Info

Friday March 16 at 12:30am at Container Bar: More Info

Saturday March 17 at 4pm at The Sidewinder: More Info

The Ghost Wolves: (Austin’s Version of The Cramps)

Tuesday March 14 at 11:00pm at 720 Club: More Info

Friday March 16 at 3:00pm(best guess) at Spiderhouse for Peelander-Fest: More Info

Saturday March 17 at 6:30 at Okar Blues Brewery: More Info

Surfbort

Thursday March 15 (Friday) at 1:15am at Spiderhouse for Wienermania: More Info

Friday March 16 at 8:30pm at Hotel Vegas Patio: More Info

Friday March 16 at 1:00am at Waller Ballroom: More Info

Saturday March 17 at 11:05 at Spiderhouse: More Info

Riverboat Gamblers

Saturday March 17 at 4:00pm at Jackalope: More Info

Punk Adjacent Bands

Andrew WK

Thursday March 15 at 4pm (best guess) at Mohawk: More Info

Friday March 16 at 2:00pm at Barracuda for Pitchfork: More Info

Friday March 16 at 6:00pm at Container Bar: More Info

Saturday March 17 at 2:15pm at Cheer Up Charlies: More Info

Frank Turner

Thursday March 15 at 1:05am at Palm Door at Sixth: More Info

Friday March 16 at 12:30am at Barracuda Backyard: More Info

Friday March 16 at 3:30pm at The Blackheart: More Info

Peelander-Z

Thursday March 15 at 4:00pm(best guess): More Info

Friday March 16 at 6:00pm (best guess): More Info

Saturday March 17 at 3:00pm (best guess): More Info

Jeff Rosenstock

Thursday March 15 at 1:00am at Cheer Up Charlies: More Info

**Set times may or not be available as you can see but I have linked all party info to keep updated. Also some of these are official SXSW showcases especially if they are after 5pm.  BUT you can pay cover if the venue is not at capacity so it is worth the wait in line  sometimes.**

DISCOVER NEW MUSIC AND LOVE OLD FAVORITES!

Tours: The Distillers Reunion

New Year, new blog! What has brought new life into me? The one and only the Distillers reunion tour. Everyone thought it would NEVER happen but all my punk girl dreams are coming true in 2018. The reactions have been nothing but positive since the teaser video was released on their social media on January 3. See the teaser below:

There are two main reasons this reunion has me excited more than most. I have lived to see the Refused and Misfits reunite after saying they said they never would. The reason I am fangirling out more than usual would be because this is a female fronted band making big waves in the scene. Growing up my heroes were Joan Jett and Debra Harry.  But these are not women of my own generation. Brody Dalle would the closest musician that mirrored how I looked and felt. She didn’t sing about sugary things, didn’t wear pink shit, and she could play an amazing guitar. The raspy screams and hit songs are what makes this band shine and beloved even today. Throughout the years this band was filled with controversy and their eventual fallout but I feel no other band filled their void since. I am looking forward to a future album and this tour.

Reason number two I am psyched is because The Distillers apparently love Texas, my home state. We are lucky enough to get 3 city tours for this reunion. Certain punk acts have a hard time getting to Texas because of the location and funding but they are coming straight for us this spring. Photos popped up after the reunion announcement and one of the first dates was El Paso. I was even more thrilled to get tickets to the Austin date. Dallas will be blessed on May 2 at the Curtain Club. See you at the show!

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The Distillers, Spring 2018 Tour:
April 25 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
April 27 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
April 28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
April 29 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrown Palace
May 1 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
May 2 – Dallas, TX @ The Curtain Club

*Favorite reunions so far would be in order: The Misfits, The Descendants, The Refused, and The Impossibles. I think this will be #4 in the top five of all time.*

 

Show Review: Save Ferris is Back!

It only took 15 years but here is the new Save Ferris band and EP. I can’t deny that I was super curious to see what the hype was about. I first saw Save Ferris at my first Warped Tour in 1999. I can definitely say this was one of the first times I experienced ska, especially since it was in a revival. Nevertheless, it has been a love of mine ever since. The album It Means Everything was the essence of my youth and was something I related to immensely.

The story goes as follows; Monique Powell wanted to continue with Save Ferris and here is what the finished product is. There is a new 5 songs EP called Checkered Past and a tour. There are new members in Save Ferris which everyone knows by now since the infamous lawsuit. But when changing band members and using the same name, it can be a tricky manoeuver to pull off successfully.

I honestly didn’t care for the opening bands in the stop in Austin. First Year Fight is still a very young and new band, also not ska. Vista Kicks were entertaining but also not ska. Believe it or not but Austin does have ska bands. This tour might have been a test run for the future to come, I will forgive it this time. Word to the wise, email or message the Austin Ska Collective next time since they might have the answers.

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Regardless, Save Ferris met and exceeded my expectations. They played the hits of course but also threw in some songs from the new EP. Monique could at least joke about being in a movie in the 90s and doing covers. Life is too short to be embarrassed by the things you did in the 90s. The band members are seasoned ska players, which made the set even more enjoyable. I like their bass player a lot. Regardless, check out the photos and videos below and let me know what you think.