Fest 11 – Part 2

The continuation of the Fest 11 saga, in which our heroes finally, actually discuss a band or two that played during fest.


Like I said in an earlier post, we mostly stuck to the same one-block area of Gainesville to maximize the amount of awesome music we could hear.  Friday was spent exclusively at the High Dive, 8 Seconds and The Florida Theater of Gainesville.  After check in and dinner, our first stop the High Dive to check out Hostage Calm and Dikembe. Hostage Calm was easily one of the top five performances of the weekend.  The venue was just the right size, and it was packed out with people singing and crowdsurfing along. It really was a fun time.

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Hostage Calm. First set we saw, tough act to follow.

The next venue we hit was the Florida Theater, which is (I think?) the largest venue for the Fest.  This was the only venue that seemed to have a full security team, and the bartenders definitely didn’t seem like they were used to our kind of crowd.  There we saw The Swellers, Make Do and Mend and Polar Bear Club play back-to-back. This venue had plenty of levels, so you were basically assured a good view of the stage, which was awesome.  The sound, however, left something to be desired. I was super disappointed that the mix during Make Do and Mend wasn’t great, they were one of my most anticipated bands.

To end the night, we went over to 8 Seconds during F.Y.P’s set and to get a good spot for Latterman.  F.Y.P. were great, and that night’s headliner Latterman were amazing! I didn’t get to see them at their New York reunion shows last year, so this was the first time I’d seen them in like 5 years. That old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” could not be more true for this band, because as soon as they started playing the whole place went NUTS. I’m sure there’s Nothing like a few thousand fans singing along to welcome you back. Latterman was tight and loud and played every song I could ask for. It was a great end to the first night at Fest.


After grabbing some food, we headed over to 8 Seconds to catch Iron Chic and RVIVR, but were greeted to something of a line. This particular line was about two blocks long for a venue that absolutely could not hold half of these people. Our plan B was to head over to the Atlantic for Little League, then to The Laboratory for Pentimento. Both great, low-key sets. We took a break after that to try to figure out how the hell we were getting home with Hurricane Sandy coming.  The rest of the evening was spent watching Captain We’re Sinking just absolutely kill it, Red City Radio blow the doors off of High Dive, and a small, intimate set from Nightmares for a Week.

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Red City Radio. No, I have no idea why people throw beer. Even cheap beer.


On Sunday, we started the day out at the Florida Theater. Joyce Manor was pretty good, but the Menzingers were crazy good. I was surprised at how well the crowd responded to songs off the new album to boot. After those bands, we got a call back from Delta and found out we’d be stuck in Florida no matter what we did because of Sandy up North. Well, we took that as a sign so we headed over to 8 Seconds, pulled up a couple of bar stools and got daytime drunk listening to Cheap Girls, Paul Baribeau and Andrew Jackson Jihad play. The last set of the night was Frank Turner, who was absolutely brilliant.  It’s crazy how one guy with a guitar can sound so huge when everyone sings along.

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Frank Turner.

Fest 11 was a trip. After talking about it for so long, I couldn’t be happier that I was able to attend this year.  I can honestly say that Fest lived up to the hype, and I had one of the best weekends of my whole year. Monday morning was a different story, as we got stuck in Florida for a few days. You can read more about that in this post.


cmon everybody sing along, we’re to blame..


What I’m Thankful For – Part Two!

Who cares if it’s december? It’s time to continue what I started, so let’s talk about the top two records I’m thankful for!

If you missed it, read about numbers five through three over here

The Five Records I’m Most Thankful For – A Thanksgiving Record Extravaganza! .. (part two)

2) Iron Chic/Not Like This/Dead Broke Rekerds/Yo-Yo Records/2010/Official Website

There are very few things in this world that I can say that I love. I love pizza. I love my stupid cat that I have to clean up after. I love my family. I love Iron Chic’s Not Like This.

Bought this Euro red version from a seller in England

Bought this Euro red version from a seller in England

When I was a young’n, there was a Long Island band called Latterman who, despite not achieving the success they deserved while active, have been incredibly influential to countless punk rock bands.  They influenced an entire style of punk. After Latterman broke up, the members formed and joined a whole slew of new projects, one of which is Iron Chic.  Iron Chic and Latterman certainly share some similar sounds, but while Latterman is influential, Iron Chic is just so much better. There, I said it.

Not Like This is 31 minutes of anthemic punk rock bliss.  Every song is laden with distorted bass lines, classic 90’s Long Island emo guitar work, and scratchy, melodic vocals you can’t help but sing along with.  If you get a chance to catch the band play on Long Island some time, you’ll see just what I mean when a few hundred strangers sing along louder than the P.A.  You’ll also notice that the band will play nearly this whole album, because it’s filled with some of their best work to date.  “Cutesy Monster Man” is one of the greatest opening tracks for any album ever.  “Know What I Mean, Jellybean?” and “Bustin’ (Makes Me Feel Good)” are both simultaneously sad as fuck and triumphant as hell. How is that even possible?!? I love this album, and until I get another Iron Chic full length, I’m gonna keep spinning it.

1) Less Than Jake/Muppets 7″/1997/Liquid Meat Records/Official Website


When I was a kid, I really liked Less Than Jake. They honestly got me into punk rock. I had every CD I could get my hands on, even the weird Japanese import that came with an obi strip.  One day I found their website (this was 1998, I barely used the internet back then!) and saw that they did a lot of mailorder sales, and that they had a ton of vinyl releases. I really didn’t even know bands were still releasing vinyl back then, and I thought that was so cool! I got a money order, put it in an envelope (!),  wrote out a post-it saying what I wanted, and I waited. Eventually I received this beauty, the Less Than Jake Muppets seven inch. This baby is super cool and contains four covers of Muppets songs, plus some pretty neat DIY-style artwork.  When I was younger I was very happy with this record. Now, I can certainly see it’s flaws, mostly with sound quality. But I can’t not love this record. It’s responsible for my love of vinyl. Less Than Jake’s Muppets really symbolizes a different era for me, where everything was new and exciting and I couldn’t wait to hear more new music. For that, it’ll always be the record I’m most thankful for.


I hear them calling my name

Fest 11 – Part 1

The last weekend of October was a crazy time.  The northeast was hit by the frankenstorm Sandy, causing destruction all over and of course the weeks of power outages and gas shortages.  Now, call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure the whole thing was my fault. You see, the weekend before I went on an actual, honest-to-god vacation for the first time in years. Obviously someone was trying to teach me a lesson for thinking I could ever leave this island.

The vacation I refer to was a trip down to Florida for Fest 11. That weekend every year, the Florida Gators football team heads down to Jacksonville and brings half the city with them, leaving downtown deserted.  A bunch of punks happily take up the slack as they invade Gainesville for Fest, a weekend jam-packed with hundreds of bands.  Thousands of attendees travel from all over the world for three days of the best the world of punk, hardcore, and indie rock have to offer.  Unlike other festivals, Fest doesn’t take place in a large field or a parking lot with stage trucks and horrible sound.  Instead, nearly every bar and music venue in town (also most with horrible sound) opens up their doors to anyone with a Fest bracelet.  You’ll find packed rooms filled with a bunch of weirdos spilling $2.00 PBR tall boys all over each other, singing along to great music.

I’ve been talking about going down to Fest for literally a decade. Years ago I didn’t have the money for such a trip, and for the last few years October weekends always seem to be filled with schoolwork, weddings, birthdays, and other obligations.  This year I decided enough was enough and talked an old friend into coming along for the ride.

Despite the layover, the flight down to Florida was mostly harmless, which is a good thing because I hate flying. On the ride over, I asked the driver if anyone had shown up to the hotel yet for registration and I got a very sarcastic “yeah, a few.” I knew there would be a decent amount of people around at Fest, but I really didn’t expect a few thousand people in the parking lot, pool, registration room, and roaming the hallways of the hotel. It was an eye-opener to say the least!

How it works at Fest is there are about a dozen venues throughout the city that host shows, so the bands you want to see in any given day might actually be at different venues up to 15 minutes away.  Because of this, we mostly stuck to the main drag downtown that included 6 or so venues.  We missed some bands that I wanted to see that were playing across town, but the tradeoff was that we got to see more bands in total. Every venue sold cheap beer, but despite my best efforts I really just wasn’t into getting wasted, which worked out great every morning I was there.  This meant that I spent less time hungover in bed and more time hearing great music!

Stay tuned for part 2 of my experience at this past Fest!


and now the passing days on the outside feel great, and it never ever rains