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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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.

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!

Festivals: Riot Fest Denver 2016 Day 1

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It is said that “Riot Fest Sucks” (at least that’s what they want you think). I think setting the bar really low on expectations takes the edge off when it comes to impressing your audience. When it comes to Riot Fest, this festival has done such great lineups the past few years I am officially a repeat customer. I went to Chicago two years ago and this time I went to Denver. The Denver Riot Fest is almost a literal rodeo. Being from Texas, I understand this setting. It is almost too familiar. The festival set up was part rodeo, part Warped Tour parking lot.

Since I got there a bit late, I went straight to see my favorite fest band: Fucked Up. I think I love this band even more as they progress into their albums. I also enjoy Damian’s podcast.They played a short set but did not disappoint. They played classics like “Crooked Head” and  “Black Albino Bones”. I learned that “Black Albino Bones” is about record collecting and I am going to revisit that song. I think Fucked Up is really well thought out music but doesn’t take itself that serious either. The highlight of their live show was when Damian carried out armfuls of water for the audience and was still screaming into the mic.

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Damian Abraham of Fucked Up

I spent the rest of the fest in the literal rodeo ring. I got to see the Aquabats! I love that they are live action super heroes of sorts. I  have enjoyed their shows and have been a fan for years. Their fan base is literally little kids and way too old adults. But we are all on the same page here. We love to party and fight villains. Their stage show was the best in the sense that 1.) their songs are catchy 2.) they had dancing sharks like Katy Perry super bowl style 3.) they had inflatable pizza slices to crowd surf on: Surf’s UP!

My favorite highlight of the Aquabats set was when MC Bat Commander taught children to circle pit, literally. Yes they literally just ran in a circle but this will be an important concept they will learn later down the line. The children are our future after all. They also had some funny musical jokes where they would play parts of other people’s song you wouldn’t think the Aquabats would know. They are a lot more hip than you think for guys dressed in costumes.

The rest of the festival was a perfect trifecta of Fat Wreck Chords bands: Lagwagon, NOFX, and Descendents.Lagwagon is still one of favorites. They play each song with such precision and heart. I love their last album Hang a lot and was stoked to hear “Cog in the Machine” again live. They played their classics such as “Violins” and “Making Friends”. The only thing about big festivals is that you only get mostly classics from a band like Lagwagon but each one of theirs is a gem.

I was anticipating the NOFX set. The band has had a crazy year. They wrote a book. They did a tour. Fat Mike did a detox. I feel like this show would be a bit of a regroup for this band. Once NOFX took stage that rodeo arena was packed to brim with punk fans. I had to watch from the seats since the arena was getting too full. That’s great for NOFX though. I feel they did a great set and played newish songs such as “72 Hookers” and “I Believe in Goddess”. They debuted “Six Years on Dope” from their new album First Ditch Effort coming out in October. I am digging their new release so it was cool to get a preview. Their set was mediocre but I kind of want that from a NOFX. I only come to this conclusion from other NOFX fans at Riot Fest. I eavesdropped on a lot of conversations that either loved the set or thought it wasn’t their best. NOFX is not about perfection but they still know how to entertain.

The Descendents are one of my top ten favorite bands. I don’t think I could give them a bad review since I am super bias on the subject. I will say that I loved seeing them at Riot Fest Chicago two-year ago because they did Milo Goes to College front to back and that was a real musical moment. I was also excited to hear their new release Hypercaffium Spazzinate live for the first time. I believe their new album holds up live. They played a very good mix of all their albums and I can’t wait to see them in my hometown for Sound on Sound festival in November.

I also got to check out the half of the Deftones set. I still sweat that band a lot and I am not ashamed. By the end of the night I was all rodeo-ed out.