THE FEST 7: total recap

A few weeks ago, i hopped in the van with local pop-punk stalwarts, delay, for a short tour down to the fest 7, something i'd been looking forward to since last year's fest.  Not only did we have three shows booked on our way down:  cincinnati, lexington, and birmingham, but we also had to scrap the old delay van in kentucky, which broke down there the week before and was parked on the front lawn of a friend's house.  Since we didn't have delay's van anymore, our mode of transportation was provided by two young members of a new cleveland band called reverse the curse, who were driving down to the fest in their conversion van anyhow.  the three shows on the way down were fun, and we ended up staying with some of the nicest people imaginable.  it's always nice and reassuring to travel and experience other like-minded DIY communities many miles away from the microcosmic one in which you actively participate.  so glad i never got jaded, which is almost the norm these days to be jaded and/or burnt out by 23.  i mean today, in the advent of the internet, even being a jaded TEEN isn't all too uncommon.

we drove through the night after our birmingham show and arrived ass-early to gainesville.  much too early to call my buddies matt or chris, from young livers, with whom i made arrangements to stay.  since everyone else i was with were staying with chris from plan-it-x, i copped a slice of floor on the old schoolbus stationed on the side of their house and had some strange dreams for a few hours before waking up to excited conversations and a buzz of activity just outside the bus in the backyard.  some people were just crawling out of tents, and others were sitting around the yard discussing their plan of attack for the day.  i wasn't hearing any of it because i was about to make a bee line for some coffee before meeting up with the delay boys for check-in, acquiring the all-mighty WRISTBAND!!  you know, the sort of all-access pass necessary for the weekend's festivities.  it wasn't long before i was running into friends left and right, and things would heat up faster than you could say, "GAME ON!"

here's the roster of bands i caught during the next three days:

day 1 - oct. 31:

virgins, ringers, good luck, serious geniuses, cheeky, screaming females, bouncing souls, paint it black

there was absolutely no easing into it.  when i said, "GAME ON!" i meant it!!  the fest was well underway with virgins sweating it out at common grounds.  i had heard great things about this band, which led me to believe they were right up my alley, as far as pop bands go, and my hunch was pretty spot on.  they were described to me as sounding a lot like ALL, which they kind of did, newer ALL, that is.  screaming females KILLED IT!  bouncing souls were old friends from back in the day, i roadied two US tours for them in the early 90s, so it was awesome to catch up with them briefly and watch them play from backstage.  they played only songs from the first two records, and it brought back so many great memories.  after the souls finished, they announced that immediately across the street from the venue, paint it black were going to play a renegade show in the parking lot.  i raced over there to a large group of kids surrounding a uhaul truck in which paint it black were playing inside.  people were stage diving off the top of the uhaul.  police arrived in no time at all shutting down the guerrilla punx show, and the air smelled thick of riot, but for the life of me i couldn't get my camera to switch on.  it's six years old now, has over 10,000 photos taken with it, and gives me errors most of the time.

day 2 - nov. 1:

the measure [sa], new bruises, north lincoln, armalite, too many daves, bridge and tunnel, fiya, new mexican disaster squad, young livers, the emotron

spent most of the day watching bands at common grounds and helping out with the new bruises/kiss of death merch table.  funny how i can't escape it, huh?  haha!!  i absolutely love watching the measure, especially now that fid moved from drums to guitar.  he's such a wild axeman!!  new bruises were awesome/hilarious.  bryon shaved his beard into a biker/thrash stache and verbally accosted all the political punks in the crowd.  how come i was the last person on this punk planet to find out about armalite??  atom from fracture (yeah, and that package thing too, i guess), mike mckee of kill the man who questions fame, dan yemen of lifetime, and a drummer who was probably in another band before this too, all playing no idea-style punk.  it wasn't disappointing, yet it wasn't so much the sum of it's parts, either.  bridge and tunnel FLOORED ME!  never heard them before this, and apparently they'd played columbus a few times recently.  completely off my radar.  90s-styled emo-core played with the rawest, most sincere energy and passion i've seen in a while.  definitely a fest highlight for me!  young livers packed the place out, and rightfully so.  they capped the night off with a powerful set of their own brand of tuneful/gruff punk.  after the show ended, the house parties began and rumours spread of which bands were playing where.  i followed the directions to the place where a supposed replacements cover band was to play a living room.  after somehow ending up at wrong house parties twice, i had found the one for which i was looking.  i think i was there for five minutes when i witnessed a guy fall to the ground, rub dirt all over his face, and start slithering through the crowd on his stomach like a snake.  soon after, i squeezed into the living room and the music started.  it was not replacements covers.  it was alright though, so i stuck around.  the replacements cover band were to play next, and the house was no longer letting anyone else in!  i lucked out, and waited.  the band set up, anticipation was thick in the air.  sam from bitchin' was on lead guitar and vocals and started off with a solo rendition of "if only you were lonely" to which everyone swayed and sang along to, while the rest of the band dealt with equipment.  during this time, the police arrived and stopped the show.  the only way it could continue, it seemed, was if it were played acoustically, which they refused to do.  some people made phonecalls to see if it could be moved elsewhere, but to no avail.  they actually played the next night at wayward, but the place was already past capacity when i arrived.  total bummer!! 

day 3 - nov. 2:

the shaking hands, off with their heads, toys that kill, the ergs, the ergs, leatherface

the shaking hands were the first band chris and matt joined before starting young livers, when they moved to gainesville a few years back, and were initially called the horror.  it had been a few years since i'd seen them play, and they sounded really good.  hope they make their way back to columbus sometime for a show, all great guys.  a blast to hang out with.  the ergs dropped two sets, playing everything including a descendents cover.  leatherface took the stage and what a great time it was!  frankie stubbs is my daddy!!  they played all of the classics including "peasant in paradise," "springtime," and "i want the moon," along with all the best of the newer material.  i was stoked beyond belief!!  an incredible set to close out fest 7.

fest:  it's more like punk rock family reunion than anything.  i could go down there without any intentions of seeing any bands at all and still have a blast just hanging out.  it ruled completely! 

some other things that ruled:  rites of spring and gray matter t-shirts from the distro @ wayward council, jamaican tempeh e'ryday from reggae shack, espresso from volta too many times, vegan brunch from the top (though they had a fest crisis and we waited TWO HOURS for our food), that cuban joint on the corner i had lentils and rice and root beer.

thanx to all friends old and new who made my trip so awesome!! delay for taking me and letting be be their roadie for wristband, reverse the curse for being cool dudes and letting me ride with, chris (plan-it-x) for letting us crash there and being a great host to many, many folks, matt and chris (young livers) for letting me sleep on their floor, bryon (new bruises/kiss of death records) for hanging out all weekend in between juggling gear and merch AND for the ride to tampa (holy shit, the TACO BUS RULED!!), and especially to Cat for taking the time and road tripping with me back to ohio in her vehicle.

see you all at FEST 8!!