Well, first things first, I spent the day looking like this….
….which made a normal (read as weird, fun, meandering, hazy, and drunken) day of FESTing just that much odder, hilarious, and well….FESTier.
And what is FESTier than slightly too early acoustic sets at Loosey’s drinking early afternoon liquor out of pineapples?
Unfortunately Joey Cape cancelled his acoustic set (I love Joey Cape acoustic way more than anyone should) to save what voice he had left for a later Lagwagon set. Fair enough, but….bummer. On the non bummer side of things, The Menzingers played a great, loose set of acoustic punk rock, but not before complimenting our costumes while we were standing in line beside a mountain of pineapple boxes and pineapple cuttings. Apparently we looked “outstanding”. Hah. Also, some poor bastard stood in line in front of us for close to an hour only to find out that they weren’t selling day tickets to the venue. Sorry, Bro, that sucks.
Next up was Ex Breathers Fugazi cover set, which was what seemed like a trek to 8 Bit Bar. Totally worth it. As someone old and lucky enough to have seen Fugazi 5 times, I can say with a bit of confidence that Ex Breathers truly captured both the feeling and sound of the monumentally influential post punk juggernaut. The covers somewhat surprisingly spanned the entire Fugazi discography from the first e.p. to 2001’s The Argument. Styrofoam? Epic Problem? Impeccable choices. Great, great, great.
I’m pretty sure that Lot 10 in the daytime sun is not the ideal setting to see Night Birds, but it was a pretty fun set anyway, and I would love to see them in a more intimate, less shiny venue soon.
Masked Intruder, on the other hand, would be fun to see pretty much anywhere (although I wonder how much they regret the mostly black outfits with freaking ski masks schtick in the Florida sun). The opened with a sugary sweet a cappella tune (punk rock, y’all!) and then settled into their signature well crafted pop punk set. Officer Bradford was there to see that the boys didn’t get out of hand and managed to dance with most of the crowd and get in a little crowd surfing, too.
We continued to party in the parking lot and then caught the always awesome Smoke or Fire. Seriously. Always. Awesome.
Checked out the merch, caught a bit of Banner Pilot, drank more PBR, and waited for Teenage Bottlerocket to play. I love TBR, was stoked to finally see them play, and everyone seemed to really, really, enjoy their set. Little did any of us know that it would be drummer Brandon Carlisle’s final performance, as he was found unresponsive in his Wyoming home a few days later. Ugh. Rest in peace, Brandon. Embrace life, people, you never know what’s around the corner.
Kiss Lagwagon was next on the bill, with the aforementioned Joey Cape doing his best to soldier through the set. With songs like Making Friends and May 16th, though, the audience provided all the vocals necessary for a great time. Bonus: We got a costume shout out from the Caper. Rad.
After Lot 10 we had a classic FEST choice to make: The Wooly, High Dive or Cowboys? Commit to the line to try and catch PEARS? Check out Beach Slang? After briefly standing in line at High Dive, we bailed in order to see the classic harDCore outfit Government Issue. Prior to G.I. we caught an explosive set from As Friends Rust. I wasn’t familiar with the songs, but the rest of the crowd sure as hell was. Killer stuff.
If I’m being honest, I was prepared to be disappointed by Government Issue, as reviews of the current incarnation are not so great, and the set consists of their earlier hardcore, as opposed to the later J. Robbins infused melodic rock that I love. In the end I realized that the early stuff made me nostalgic (in a good way) for the days when I bought every Dischord Records release and it was still the same weirdo John Stabb on stage. Sloppy, but really how precisely do songs like Asshole need to be played?
The real upside to seeing G.I. was that Modern Life is War played next. Holy hell, it was good old fashioned fists-in-the-air, bodies flying, amps and tempos cranked up hardcore. Words won’t do it justice, it was a blast, just like the rest of the day.
Late night Steak n Shake. Still in costume. 16(?) year old waitress had no idea who DEVO is. Man, I’m getting old, tomorrow is going to hurt.