Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fest Day 2

Saturday – 10/27/07
I woke up to a crowded hotel room at 8 am and couldn’t sleep. I got dressed quickly and headed down to the lobby, with ringing in my ears. I knew that it was going to be a long weekend if I didn’t get some earplug. I asked Caty, the friendly front desk girl, where I could get to a CVS or something. She told me there was a Walgreens a few blocks up 13th street. A few blocks turned into a mile and a half. I knew I had nothing else to do, so I just kept walking. I eventually made it there, got some fancy pants plugs for myself, and a ten pack for everyone else in the group. Then, I started my trek back.

When I got back to the hotel, I grabbed my laptop and sat around at the hotel bar drinking tea for my already scratchy throat. Around 9:30 Kev showed up, bleary eyed, and we actually sat with the drummer from Radon for a while. We shot the shit for a bit, and eventually woke everyone up to head over to the No Idea house for a giant “garage sale.”

Walking over to the sale, we ran into Kevin Allen, a friend of some of the guys, who said that the place was packed and we’d be lucky to get in, even though it was just starting. We got there, and saw a line stretching around the block. We hung out for a bit, then realized from someone in the front of the line (wearing a Lighten Up shirt, no less) that it took him over an hour to move about 200 feet. Pass. We took off, which probably saved me a lot of money. Amateur Party wasn’t starting for another hour or so, so we went to grab some lunch.

On the way to Harvest Thyme Café, Heather stopped and picked up a new shirt, and Mike posed for a sexy photo op. Once we got to Harvest Thyme, it was pretty delicious. Definitely a spot to check out for fairly healthy, and reasonably priced, food in Gainesville.

We hustled into the Atlantic right as Amateur Party was starting, and as usual I was impressed. They played a lot of new stuff that I’d never heard before, and the new lineup sounded good. Jeff Ziga played his first of three sets that weekend on second guitar, and their new bassist (Scott?) did an adequate job replacing former Philly standout Andrew Martini. Good stuff, and excellent guys.

When they ended, Heather and I headed to Common Grounds to check out the pop punk band Ringers. They were really good and played a nice mix of songs. And, from what interaction I had with their singer later in the weekend, they were good dudes. While we were there, Kev, Bill and Aly went to check out Bridge and Tunnel at Market St Pub. When Ringers ended, that’s where Heather and I went to see Pink Razors. Unfortunately, it was pretty packed, and sounded like absolute crap, so we headed over to The Venue to get in line for the Fat Wreck showcase, which stretched around the block.

Heather and I waited for a bit, and Kev and company came down the street. We hung out for a bit, and eventually Mike came stumbling down too. After screaming “FEEEEESSSSTTTTT” he immediately found us and we went in.

Dead to Me was playing as we got in, and I was impressed. Cuban Ballerina has gotten a lot of play from me over the year, and they definitely brought the energy live. Plus, they were pretty low on sleeves, which is always a good thing. They were quickly followed by Smoke or Fire, who have impressed me more and more each time I’ve seen them. I was underwhelmed when I saw them with Lifetime in 05, but they’ve been spot on the last few times. They were joined by Tim Barry for “Cryin’ Shame” and the crowd went nuts. After much questioning, they closed with “California’s Burning,” which was the first major “too soon?” moment of the weekend (this was the week of the California wildfires).

After a short break, American Steel started. It was my second time seeing them and the Lawrence Arms in a week, and I was a bit bored with American Steel after a bit. I enjoy them, but I’ve never been a huge fan. So seeing them play two 40 minute sets in a week, of material I barely knew got a bit long. Not to mention their set in Florida was almost exactly the same as it was in Philly. The Lawrence Arms, on the other hand, never cease to impress me. I’m always blown away by their mix of songs, and hearing two Broadways songs (“15 Minutes” and “The Kitchen Floor”) for the second time in a week was something that I never expected. They always explode with energy and play a good range of stuff. One of my favorite bands.


What can be said about Avail that hasn’t been said a million times before? One of the hardest working, most inspiring punk bands of all times. These guys have earned their legendary status. They played a fantastic mix of songs, and Tim and Beau Beau bounced all over the stage for about 45 minutes. Beau also entered himself squarely at the top of “best stage dive of the weekend” with a front flip off the speakers into a raging crowd. The last four songs or so were outrageous, and the ending with “Scuffle Town” sent hundreds of kids absolutely nuts.


Finally, the band that the whole room was waiting for: D! 4! Avail was a tough act to follow, and Dillinger Four did their best. They played really well, and their set spanned all releases, but when it comes down to it, they just didn’t play long enough. They were on stage for about 45 minutes and had amp troubles that caused about 15 minutes worth of nothing. Well, not nothing. Any time Paddy is filled up on speed, you get plenty of great comments. He kept the large crowd entertained, but this wasn’t enough to keep me from being bummed over a 30 minute set when an hour was set aside.

As this showcase wrapped up, we all filed outside, throats raw and arms finger pointed out and decided to head to Common Grounds to check out Shook Ones for the second night in a row. Unfortunately, the rest of Fest had the same idea, and we knew there was no chance of getting in on time. So, we took off to get some burritos at El Indio with the intention of heading back for Paint it Black. We got our Mexican food, which was pretty damn good and cheap, right as the place was closing, and headed back to the hotel to relax for a few.

Barely letting the beans, cheese and sour cream settle, Kev, Bill, Aly and I headed back to Common Grounds, which Heather and Mike relaxed at the hotel. We walked over with some righteous blokes from across the pond, who informed us that Kid Dynamite was “massive” in England, and that pints in the US were disappointing compared to those in England. Either way, awesome group of guys. The line for Paint it Black was huge, and we wasted time standing in it while we could’ve watched LaSalle or Dear Landlord. Bum times. However, the line was fun, and Kev even got a P4 shoutout (if you don’t know, you weren’t meant to).

We finally got in, about 10 minutes into Paint it Black’s set, but managed to have a blast. They played some awesome new songs, Yemin commented about anything and everything punk rock, and the last three songs or so were spent trying to one up Municipal Waste’s record of “infinity stage dives.” I got some good ones in, and Kev headwalked all over some Philly locals. Nice.


We got back to the hotel shortly after 1am, and there was a rooftop pool party going on. Mike, Kev and I headed up, but it was kind of a bust. Lots of dudes naked, and random guys dropping jaws at the three girls gutsy enough to strip down to bikinis. Bummer. Not to mention it was fucking cold. We hung out with some people for about a half hour, if that, and called it a night. Apparently the party got pretty wild after we left, but I could only stomach so many wangs. Mike crashed on the floor, and Kev headed up to Aly’s room for the night at about 2.

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