Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FEST Day 3

Sunday – 10/28/07
After getting an almost good night’s sleep, I was up at 10:30 and at the hotel bar again drinking tea. My voice felt like I’d been swallowing sandpaper, and I vowed to not sing along too much today. I swore this. I knew it wouldn’t happen though. How was I going to explain this to my students on Tuesday? Oh well.

We quickly got ready and hit up the pizza place across the street, Leonardo’s, for a quick lunch, and were not disappointed. Solid pizza for being outside the Philly/NYC area, and good salads. The place was packed with a ton of bleary eyed kids and band members who were in a rush to catch Philly supergroup Armalite.
We got to Common Grounds and were in right as they were starting. They sounded good, just as they do every time they play on their “two show a year Philly to Gainesville” tour. There were some tech difficulties with Yemin’s bass, but Mike McKee entertained the crowd with his babbling (as usual) and his “ushering in of vegan hip hop” (hilarious!). They also covered “Fucked Up Kid” by Crimpshrine, which went over with little attention – kind of a bummer.

The crowd thinned out after they left, which was lame because there were two great pop punk bands following them. The Arrivals played rock and roll inspired pop punk, and surprisingly, Paddy (D4) stayed quiet. Weird! They were damn good, and played a short set. Next was one of my favorite bands of the weekend, Off With Their Heads. They came out and played a ton of songs, from all of their random splits, EPs, collections, etc. I got denied on a dive during “Die Today” by some random dude, but it was ok. This was the first band to really break my no-sing-along rule. I love this band and was glad to finally get to see them.


As soon as they were done we hauled ass over to The Atlantic to see Cloak/Dagger. They had just started, and they sounded great. Every time I’ve seen them they’ve had a different bassist, but they seriously sounded good and were really energetic. They had a ton of good merch too; unfortunately I couldn’t pick up any. As soon as they finished, Affirmative Action Jackson got started. As usual, hilarious and raging. It’s amazing that this band never plays, but always does a good job and sounds tight. For playing their third sets of the weekend, Andy and Jeff seemed pretty energetic. I wish I had recorded versions of the new songs.

Heather and I then headed over to The Venue for the final showcase we intended to see of the weekend. Kev and Bill stayed to see New Mexican Disaster Squad and said that they were solid. The Figgs were the first band at the Venue and I have no idea how they got on that show. No one seemed to care, and they didn’t really impress me, but they seemed energetic.

Speaking of energy, The Draft were really lacking it. I don’t know why, but they did not really seem into it, which was a bummer. Maybe it was the fact that it was Sunday, maybe it was the middle of the day, maybe it was all of the Hot Water Music rumors, but I wasn’t super interested which made me feel bad. I have seen them a handful of times and always liked them, but this seemed weird. They played a good mix, but I guess I just wish I was watching Hot Water Music.

Picking up the energy was Lopan Takes Japan, or Less Than Jake. I only know one or two records really well, but they played a ton of songs I knew and enjoyed. They were off the wall, and the hometown crowd lost their minds for everything song, particularly “Gainesville Rock City.” I’m not a huge fan, but damn were they exciting and entertaining.

Up next was the set that crushed my soul. Small Brown Bike was a band I’ve always loved, but hadn’t seen since 1999 at the Troc with Hot Water Music when they were touring on their first record. They killed it. The sound was amazing and the drums sounded absolutely huge. They came out to “The Cannons and the Tanks” and for the next hour I was entranced. They blasted through about 15-18 songs, predominantly in chronological order of full lengths. Then, they closed with “Make This a Holiday” and I officially killed whatever was left of my voice. I have rarely heard a band sound that huge and that full. I really hope they keep it together for a few more reunion shows or something that I can see them again.


After this, lots of people seemed stoked on Seaweed, but I’ll be honest – I’ve never heard them. We were exhausted, stoked out but starving, so we took off and grabbed some dinner. Outrageous weekend.

All photos by me, all videos copped from random YouTube sites. Thanks to people who upped all of them!!

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